Facebook announced yesterday that they are now offering iTunes Store digital gift cards on the company’s Facebook Gifts initiative. It goes without saying, that this makes it that much easier for users to give iTunes Store credits to their network of friends.
AllThingsD chimes in, and notes the obvious. This move essentially acts as interactive advertisement for the iTunes Store. For Facebook, this allows them to have a part of the estimated $260 million business of iTunes Store gift cards that brick and mortar retailers have shared in for some time.
At first, Apple and Facebook didn’t know how to handle one another. Apple wanted Facebook support for it’s now-defunct Ping social network. Facebook didn’t want to play ball. A few years later, Facebook is now integrated, at a system level, in both the latest versions of iOS and OS X. Someone’s attitude shifted along the way for this to happen no doubt.
To me, this goes much deeper than gift cards. Apple and Facebook are teaming up, likely to fight off Google. Unlike Myspace before it, Facebook is not content to be just a website that people visit for a chuckle. No, they are trying to build a platform on which things can be built, much like Google has done. This worries Google, at least a little. Apple and Google’s relationship has deteriorated, and Facebook is now a threat to Google. Natural allies.