Tim Cook on Ping: “Apple needs to be social, but it doesn’t have to own a social network”

Tim Cook on Ping: “Apple needs to be social, but it doesn’t have to own a social network” ...

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the All Things D Conference today in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. A variety of issues were covered, but one of the questions answered in Cook’s Q&A session was about Apple’s not-so-popular Ping social network.

When asked if he would kill off the music-based social network, Cook said “some customers love it, but there’s not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don’t know. I’ll look at it.”

The question was raised by Joanna Stern from ABC, who asked Cook just what happened to Ping.

Cook’s response, courtesy of the Macworld liveblog:

Apple doesn’t have to own a social network, if that’s the heart of your question. But does Apple need to be social? Yes. But the ways that we express that today are integrating Twitter into iOS, and you’ll see us integrate Twitter into Mac OS with Mountain Lion. Some people think of iMessage as social.

The CEO acknowledged that Apple needed to concentrate on social features and said that users would see more of that in the future. He cited Game Center as one of the social pieces to Apple’s puzzle that was already in place, but said that this didn’t mean that Apple needed to ‘own a social network.’

Cook didn’t sound very positive about the future of the service, saying: “We tried Ping and the customer voted and we said, this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into.”

Apple recently purchased the app discovery tool Chomp, an acquisition about which I wrote: “Apple needs a social network like it needs a hole in its head.”

Chomp’s integration into the App Store could fit the bill for what Cook was talking about. Social features that are used to create and nurture a community, and to foster communication. Rather than a place to simply share pictures of your lunch.

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