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Cook on Ping: 'Will we kill it? I don't know'

Apple's top exec says Ping clearly didn't resonate with customers, but that he was unsure about whether it would be killed off.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the D10 conference
Apple CEO Tim Cook at the D10 conference
Rafe Needleman/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook talked for about an hour and a half tonight about myriad topics from patent spats, to product names and the company's efforts in China.

But don't ask the guy about Ping.

Apple's music-centric social network that launched inside of iTunes 10, and is largely considered one of Apple's missteps in the past few years, was a topic Cook was hoping to avoid during the night. The executive confessed that detail during the Q&A session following the interview with D10 show hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.

ABC News' Joanna Stern asked Cook whether Ping was the last time we'd see Apple in the social space.

"I was carefully avoiding that," Cook replied. "We tried Ping and I think the customer voted and said this isn't something that I want to put a lot of energy into."

That doesn't necessarily mean the product is headed to the annals of defunct Apple products.

"Will we kill it? I don't know, I'll look at it," Cook offered.

Cook noted that the company's stand is not to own a social network, as seen in the Twitter integration built into iOS and coming to the next major version of OS X later this summer. Cook also mentioned iMessage, the company's proprietary messaging system that's making a similar trip from iOS device to the Mac with OS X Mountain Lion.

Earlier in the interview, Cook had been asked about Apple and Facebook, the social-networking giant it's got some storied history with. "Facebook is a great company. I have great appreciation for them," Cook said. "We have great respect for them. I think we can do more with them. Just stay tuned on this one."

Update at 10:39 p.m. PT: Here's a clip from that section of the talk:

CNET's Rafe Needleman contributed to this report.