A brand new report by the Information describes how top executives for Tencent, the Chinese company which owns WeChat traveled to Apple Park in 2017 and met with Apple CEO Tim Cook. The meeting was aimed at easing ongoing tensions about WeChat which Apple saw as an emerging threat.
The report states,
mollify Apple executives worried that a new feature in Tencent’s WeChat, China’s top social-networking app, could upend the multibillion-dollar app ecosystem.
That new feature was “mini-programs” a small program that would run within the WeChat app that would give users games and services. Apple viewed these mini-programs as a threat to its own App Store. With concerns that without direct control of what mini-programs WeChat would distribute it could cause a turn of iOS users.
Per the report there are around 2.4 million of these mini-programs in the WeChat app, ranging from YouTube, McDonalds, Google, and others. Apple says this violates App Store guidelines but yet still received resistance from WeChat developers.
Information reports that due to the threat Apple felt WeChat presented, it started to delay App Store updates to the app, further rising the tension between the tech giant and the developers. Apple has already faced heavy backlash for what people are calling “anti-competitive” behavior for how it treats the App Store and favors its own in-house made apps vs. those of 3rd party developers.