Facebook Said to Consider Suing Apple Over App Store Practices

Facebook’s line of attack against Apple echoes that made by other companies. Apple wields near absolute power over its App Store, deciding which apps make the cut and which don’t, and taking a 30 percent cut of their sales. In 2019, Spotify, the streaming music company, filed a complaint with European regulators, accusing Apple of using its App Store to squash companies that compete with its services, including Apple Music.

In August, Epic Games, the creator of the popular game Fortnite, sued Apple for forcing developers to use its payment systems, accusing it of anticompetitive practices in the App Store. Facebook has said it would provide information to Epic in its lawsuit, so that the court would understand “the unfair policies that Apple imposes.” Epic, Spotify and others have also organized a nonprofit group, the Coalition for App Fairness, to push for changes in app stores and to “protect the app economy.”

This week, Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Cook continued trading barbs.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts that he viewed Apple as one of Facebook’s “biggest competitors.” He cited iMessage, Apple’s iPhone-specific texting service, as an existential threat to Facebook’s social networking services.

He added that Apple had “every incentive to use their dominant platform position” to interfere with Facebook and other apps. Apple regularly treats its own apps more favorably in the App Store, he said.

On Thursday, Mr. Cook, speaking at an European data protection conference, said Apple’s new tracking features for apps and the new privacy labels were necessary because of a “data industrial complex” that has compromised consumer privacy.

“It seems no piece of information is too private or personal to be surveilled, monetized and aggregated into a 360-degree view of your life,” Mr. Cook said. “Some may think that sharing this degree of information may be worth it for more targeted ads. Many others, I suspect, will not.”

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