(Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Friday that Apple Inc (AAPL.O) had rejected its request to waive a 30% commission charge that the iPhone maker charges apps listed on iOS devices, and took a shot at its fellow Big Tech buddy when developers challenge the policy.
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration
The move is the latest salvo in a long-running cold war between two of the world’s strongest technology companies, which have clashed over their approach to user integrity as both face legislative scrutiny of alleged anti-competitive behavior.
Facebook said it was requesting an exemption so that small businesses would not have to pay Apple’s cut for a new paid online product that the world’s largest social media company is launching on its core platform.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Thursday, Apple removed the popular video game “Fortnite” from its app store for violating its in-app payment guidelines, becoming an online setback and urging developer Epic Games to file a federal antitrust lawsuit challenging Apple’s rules.
Apple takes a cut of between 15% and 30% for most in-app subscriptions and payments, although there are some exceptions for companies that already have a credit card for iPhone customers if they also offer an in-app payment that would benefit Apple.
Developers have long criticized the assignments, as well as Apple’s ban on following customers for external reports, and what some developers see as an opaque and unpredictable app-vetting process.
A mock-up of the new event product on the iPhone, provided by Facebook, showed that the company planned to tell users that Apple would take 30% of the purchase.
Google (GOOGL.O) normally charges a 30% commission for payments within apps on their Android devices, although it was not immediately clear if it would charge a fee in this case. In its Android mock-up, Facebook only noted that it would not charge a fee without revealing how it had come up with Google.
Google declined to comment on its product charge arrangement and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook also did not say whether it had tried to use Apple’s exemption from multiplatform.
The release will likely hit a nerve at Apple, whose App Store rules prevent developers from discouraging the use of their in-app purchasing system. Spotify has previously said that Apple rejected its attempts to communicate with users about the fee structures.
Fiji Simo, head of the central Facebook app, announced the tool in a media conference call with small business owners who praised it as a way to reach customers and earn revenue online during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said that Facebook considered it “important to be transparent when people support small businesses”, as users may not be aware that some of their payments could “go to a nearly $ 2 trillion business.”
Asked if she thought Apple would approve the change, even with language about fees that could discourage users from using the in-app purchase mechanism, she said she expected “in the next few days.”
Reporting by Katie Paul in San Francisco and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sonya Hepinstall