updated 04:55 pm EDT, Fri September 30, 2011
Facebook may have backed off on webOS for iPad app
Facebook may have short-changed the HP TouchPad's Facebook app to patch up relations with Apple. An exposÚ on Friday alleged that Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs was "livid" when he learned of the webOS app's full extent and wanted it gone, considering it a betrayal of a promise the iPad would get first crack at a tablet app. According to Mashable, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg agreed to pull the app, but when opposed by HP's mobile head Jon Rubinstein simply pulled access to Facebook programming interfaces, rendering the app mostly ineffective.
The app that ended up shipping with the production model July 1 had functionality but appeared to be a hacked-in build that was missing significant features.
HP reportedly believes that Facebook played both sides, getting commitments to Facebook apps on both tablet platforms without having to write for both of them. Having lost an exclusive advantage, it was supposedly close enough to considering a lawsuit. Now-ousted HP CEO Leo Apotheker's decision to quit webOS hardware may have rendered any legal threat moot with an outgoing product.
Apple and Facebook are widely known to have nearly split off their relationship altogether following the row over Ping access, where Facebook supposedly had "onerous" terms, Jobs said at the time. The decision may have cut Facebook out of iOS 5 integration in the short term.
The two have since mended fences and may show the result of it next week, when Apple and Facebook could show both the iPad app and Project Spartan, Facebook's HTML5 mobile web app platform. One of the uniting factors may be their mutual dislike of Google, which threatens Apple's mobile platform and Facebook's control of social networking.