Apple’s Steve Jobs pings Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for dinner


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Did Steve Jobs friend, er ping, Mark Zuckerberg?

They are two of Silicon Valley’s most famous founders: Jobs created the world’s must-have gadgets, Zuckerberg the world’s most popular social networking service. These days they are often mentioned in the same breath. Now apparently the two also recently broke bread.

Apparently Jobs invited Zuckerberg for dinner at his house to talk about Ping two weeks ago. That’s when a tipster spotted them on a stroll in Palo Alto. This is the best encounter since Google CEO Eric Schmidt had coffee with Jobs back in March.


Ping is Apple’s music social networking service that it recently launched. Before the launch, the iTunes team was in talks with Facebook for 18 months or more. Apple wanted to build Ping as a music tracking and sales service on top of Facebook, which could have turbocharged iTunes and iPod sales without Apple having to build its own social network from scratch. But Jobs told Boomtown’s Kara Swisher that Facebook’s terms were too onerous. Apple tried to install Facebook’s Connect service without a deal and Facebook blocked it.

The relationship, which began on such friendly terms years ago when Apple was Facebook’s first big commercial sponsor through its Apple Students group, has gotten complicated now that Facebook has asserted itself as one of Silicon Valley’s major players. But there would be friendship with significant benefits for both parties if Apple and Facebook could strike a deal. Facebook’s chief technology officer Bret Taylor thinks the two will work things out.

Neither company is commenting.

-- Jessica Guynn