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AllThingsD hears that Apple will discontinue its Ping social network with a coming release of iTunes. When Apple introduced Ping, Om said it showed hints of the future of social commerce. Indeed, Ping’s objective was to enhance sales at the iTunes Music Store via user recommendations that might lead to impulse or directed purchases. It was optimized for that, rather than for other social networking functions like communications, profile building and connecting, richer shared content experiences, etc. If Apple is successful with its Facebook and Twitter integrations, it will achieve most of the benefits for its retail business that Ping might have delivered. But it won’t own the user data exclusively.