Strategic partnership, sure, but outright purchase? No way. Sure, it’s temping to consider the ways Facebook could interface with iOS, but Facebook is valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $30-35B, and Apple only has $50B cash on hand. Facebook is too expensive for what it is — a neatly designed hack for people to make their own web pages and connect with others. The value of the company lies in the number of active accounts, not the technology itself. And for Apple, a technology company which already has an accomplished marketing department and more publicity than it can ever use, the purchase just doesn’t have enough value.
Besides, Facebook has already displaced Google in the areas the two compete in. There would be nothing to add to that particular rat race, but the danger that Google could focus on a single enemy instead of several. Yhe only reason to buy a company is to harness the potential innovation and future success when integrated with your own. Buying a fully-fledge corporation relying on something as fickle as consumer taste is a terrible idea.