It was almost ready to make its long-awaited debut.
In June, I reported that the Facebook iPad application had been in the works for almost a year and was essentially complete. According to people briefed on Facebookâ€™s plansÂ at the time, the app was scheduled to be available in the Apple iTunes store a couple of weeks later.
It never appeared. No big announcement. No shiny new iPad application. Just silence.
The app, it turns out, had become the hostage of a tense negotiation between Facebook and Apple executives for a deal to further integrate Facebook into the next version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 5.
On Monday, news of the iPad appÂ surfacedÂ online again.Â MG Siegler, of the blog TechCrunch, discovered a blog post by Jeff Verkoeyen, aÂ former Facebook employee who said he worked on Facebook’s iPad application. (His site may be down or overloaded.) He said he had quit the company after the iPad app had been completed and placed on shelves for several months.
“It is now nearly five months since the app was feature complete and I havenâ€™t seen it released,” Mr. Verkoeyen wrote on his blog. “Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me. The experience of working on this app was a large contribution to the reasons why I left Facebook.”
A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment about the existence of the application and said, “We have nothing to announce now and cannot comment on future Facebook products.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Although Apple and Facebook have successfully worked closely together on a number of products, including the Facebook iPhone application, the two companies have also had a strained relationship.
This connection began to sourÂ last year when Apple technologymoved into social networking with the iTunes music network Ping. At the time, Facebook was curiously missing from the product. Steven P. Jobs, Appleâ€™s chief executive, said that Apple had been in discussions with Facebook to integrate the social networks, but in the end, Mr. Jobs reportedly said Facebook’s terms were â€œonerous.â€�
Apple chose to use some open programming tools that Facebook made available to developers and allowed Ping users to find their Facebook friends on the service. That was short lived because Facebook pulled the plug on Apple.
Apple fired back at Facebook this year when it announced iOS 5, which wasÂ completelyÂ integrated with Twitter, a Facebook competitor. Facebook was not even mentioned in the announcement.
More news and confirmation of the iPad application’s existence will surely put a fire underneath both Apple and Facebook. But when you have two of the largest companies in technology battling for control and integration of their respective networks, there’sÂ definitelyÂ going to be some bloodshed along the way.
Mashable is reporting that the iPad app will be introduced when Apple announces its new iPhone. Apple and Facebook had no comment.