Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently sat down for an interview with Axios, and during the interview, offered up comments about Apple’s App Store. Zuckerberg said the App Store “deserves scrutiny,” as Apple has “unilateral control of what gets on the phones in terms of apps.”
Zuckerberg’s comments were in response to a question as to whether he considered Apple a monopoly that deserves to face antitrust action by governments.
Well I certainly think that they have the unilateral control of what gets on the phones in terms of apps,” he replied. “I think it’s probably about 50% of Americans who have smart phones, and a lot more people around the world. I think there are more than a billion Apple devices. So I do think that there are questions that people should be looking into about that control of the App Store and whether that is enabling as robust of a competitive dynamic.”
Business Insider notes that the Facebook CEO compared the App Store to Google’s Play Store.
As a developer if you’re not in the Google Play Store, at least you still have a way to get your app on people’s devices. And that means that people aren’t completely going to be shut out if they’re doing something that Google doesn’t prefer. I think that that’s really important, that people have a way to create something and get it on devices if people want.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has spoken out about Apple and possible antitrust issues, during a recent company-wide meeting, Zuckerberg said:
“[Apple has] this unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” Zuckerberg said to more than 50,000 employees via webcast. He added that the Cupertino, California–based company’s app store “blocks innovation, blocks competition” and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook have been ticked off at Apple’s App Store regulations after the company blocked Facebook’s gaming app form entering the App Store in August, as Apple does not allow apps that offer alternative stores containing content that it cannot vet. While Facebook did eventually launch the app in the App Store, it is limited to being used to watch streams of people playing games, much like Twitch.
Zuckerberg is also irritated with the anti-ad tracking feature Apple is including in iOS 14. Facebook says the new feature, which requires customers to agree to be tracked across apps and websites, could cut the Audience Network Ad revenue companies earn through Facebook by as much as 50%.