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Steve Jobs admired Zuckerberg too much to compete with him

New commentary on relationship between Apple co-founder and Facebook co-founder comes to light.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
James Martin/CNET

Remember when Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs said he admired Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg? That's apparently what Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson before he died. Well, it turns out Jobs' statements of respect for Zuckerberg weren't just mere rhetoric.

Jobs' appreciation for Zuckerberg was echoed once again today by Isaacson. He was speaking with Washington Post Company Chairman and CEO Donald Graham, who also happens to be a Facebook board member. Business Insider has the quotes:

"Jobs meant an enormous amount to the education of Mark," Graham told Isaacson. "Mark will talk about that until the cows come home."

"I once asked Jobs who [he] admired in the Valley," Isaacson responded. "Mark's was the first name on his lips." The author then noted that "Steve never cracked the code on social -- maybe a few people in the room remember Ping."

Isaacson asked Jobs why he didn't try again. His answer: "Maybe because Mark did it so well. There's not a need for a whole lot of social networks and Facebook has got it licked."

Apple debuted Ping with Facebook integration but did not get permission from the social networking giant. Facebook denied Apple from using Facebook Connect in Ping because Apple didn't give Facebook any warning about the feature, which would have cost a lot of bandwidth for Facebook. Apple was forced to remove the integration.

That doesn't exactly read like a love story. Here's the thing about Ping: it was one of three things that almost ended the Apple-Facebook relationship. The other two were iOS 4 and the HP TouchPad.

I've argued before that the partnership between the two technology giants started to turn around last year, possibly because the duo shares a mutual enemy: Google. I was right. Look at this succession of events:

Facebook started playing nice, and Apple eventually followed. I say eventually because the company had a chance to integrate Facebook in iOS 5 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but it didn't. Then I went on vacation and of course that's when Apple decided to play nice as well (mind you, Facebook managed to royally screw up in the process).

Let's see how long it takes before the two start bickering again. I'm sure Zuckerberg will do everything in his power to apply Jobs' teachings in order to keep everything running as smooth as possible.