In its continuing effort to keep potential rivals off of its lucrative mobile platform, Apple Inc. announced today that it will soon be replacing the i/OS Facebook app with a new app that only connects to Myspace.
Starting December 1st Facebook's app will be removed from the App Store. All existing Facebook apps for iPhone and iPad will automatically be converted to Myspace apps. If users wish to connect to Facebook instead of Myspace, they will have to do so through the Safari browser.
The dramatic move comes amidst growing concern at Apple that Facebook poses a competitive threat to its iTunes music download business though its partnership with music streaming service Spotify.
No Place for Friends
Apple has been making it harder for its competitors to use its iO/S platform. Last week it changed its default map application from Google Maps to a new proprietary solution. The changeover sparked outrage as Apple's client is considered vastly inferior to Google's offering.
Despite the risk of yet another backlash, Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company has no choice but to respond aggressively to the Facebook / Spotify juggernaut:
"Look we're not gonna let Spotify take over our platform. We know what Facebook and Spotify are up too. Soon they're be Spotify buttons all over the iPhone Facebook app. Why buy on iTunes when you can listen through Facebook? We're not suckers. And we're not having it. Not on my watch."
Asked why Apple doesn't simply acquire Spotify to eliminate the competitive threat, Cook explained:
"I'd rather be doing business with the real Justin Timberlake, not the fake one," referring to the fact that for some inexplicable reason, Timberlake - who played Sean Parker in The Social Network - is an investor in Myspace.
Some technology experts are concerned that blocking one of the most popular iPhone apps and replacing it with an outdated competitor would harm the user experience. But Cook dismisses these "experts" as simple minded dead-enders:
"Maps are maps, and social networking is social networking. Haters need to stop complaining. We invented the iPhone and the iPad OK? We know what we're doing here folks. All you bozos need to chllax."
"Myspace is a fantastic product. Its just as good as Facebook. People will see once they switch."
The move is likely to be a devastating blow for Facebook, which had counted on advertising revenue from its mobile apps to be a key driver of future revenue growth. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly lobbied Cook intensively in recent days to reconsider the switch, to no avail.
The changeover should be a huge boon, however, for the ailing Myspace. The Daily Currant contacted MySpace's CEO Tim Vanderhook and asked about Apple's impending switch:
"Wow. That's great news. To be honest I wasn't sure that people still used Myspace. But I guess now they have no choice. That's pretty cool for us."