Facebook tells the EU it has faced “challenges” with Apple’s App Store policies

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Facebook is stoking more tension with its relationship with Apple, escalating an already turbulent week thanks to comments made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In its latest move, Facebook in a formal submission to an EU competition watchdog debating over a Digital Service Act ticked the “Yes” box when asked if it has encountered issues concerning trade on large online platforms.

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Business Insider

As the Business Insider reports:

Facebook ticked the “Yes” box in its response, writing: “The App Store is effectively the only way for developers to reach consumers on Apple devices.

“Like any app developer, we have faced challenges in the application of Apple’s policies and technical controls around in-app payments, gaming apps, log-in tools, and online advertising … In each category, Apple has made policy and enforcement decisions that privilege its own services and revenue streams to the detriment of others.”

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In its submission to the council, Facebook cited its feud with Apple from August where the company rejected Facebook’s Gaming app from the App Store. Apple says that the app would allow users to download and play games that weren’t vetted through its system to ensure their safety for users, Microsoft faced a similar event.

“With regards to Apple it is well known that mobile games are the most lucrative category of mobile apps worldwide. A significant portion of Apple’s mobile OS revenue comes from purchases of games distributed directly through the App Store, and purchases made from within those games,” Facebook wrote.

By largely prohibiting other developers from offering apps that enable consumers to access games not directly distributed through the App Store, Apple is ensuring that consumers on iOS can primarily purchase games and related services only from Apple, and not from other developers,

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Facebook also indirectly brings up a feature coming early next year on iOS 14 that would require developers to asks for a users permission to enable ad-tracking, from our report earlier this month:

In previous iOS versions, users would have to manually opt-out of ad-tracking. In simpler terms, its the ability for apps and ad providers to track you across apps to provide you personalized ads on the web and within 3rd party apps. With iOS 14, developers would have to explicitly ask you whether they want to be tracked, by default.

While Facebook doesn’t state the feature by name, it vaguely references policy changes that may impact a developers ability to compete with Apple’s own service, it’s submission reads:

We are particularly concerned about policy changes that may affect developers’ ability to offer services that compete with the platform’s own services. For example, large operating system/app store platforms increasingly are imposing tight restrictions around developers’ access to data and to combine data collected across different apps and websites,

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Facebook also suggests that the feature may be apart of Apple’s larger plan to launch its own ad-business that could compete with it. A report last week suggested that other industry experts are speculating the same thing and are already raising alarm bells over what it would mean for their own business.

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Sami started falling in love with Apple in 2010 with the iPhone 4S. As a registered developer, he deeply admires the world of Apple. Sami is an aspiring journalist, writer, and actor. He also has devoted his life to sharing his passion and knowledge with others around the world.