By Chand Bellur
August 29, 2020 at 5:02 p.m. PT
- A new Facebook update attempted to sell online event tickets while warning users of Apple’s 30% cut.
- Apple blocked the update, citing a broad App Store policy that developers cannot present irrelevant information to users.
- Facebook’s Android version attempted to warn users that they don’t collect a fee from this service; however, they redacted the final version’s message.
Apple Blocks Facebook Update Due to Irrelevant Information
The App Store has a lot of rules. So many that Apple has free reign over the destiny of third-party apps. Even massive social media corporations like Facebook must abide by these baroque, pliable directives to reach over a billion end users.
Recent developments have Apple on high alert. Third-party developers are rebelling against the App Store’s 30% cut, and legislators are paying attention. Both parties seek to reform Apple’s App Store monopoly, with a growing number of large tech corporations joining the battle.
Facebook’s most recent update adds a new in-app purchasing feature for online event tickets. Apple refused to allow the update to go live due to irrelevant statements in the app. Facebook attempted to warn users that Apple takes a 30% cut of the purchase. This may encourage users to purchase online event tickets outside of the App Store.
Negotiations between Facebook and Apple sought to pass on the 30% fee to event organizers. Apple refused and blocked Facebook’s offending update. The Menlo Park social media giant recently pushed the update live, without mentioning Apple’s business model next to the in-app purchase button.
Zuckerberg’s Growing Feud with Apple
Locking out competitors is a sure-fire way to breed conflict between billionaires. Abusing market hegemony is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Robber barons like Leyland Stanford leveraged railroad monopolies to bankrupt farmers. Then he purchased the land at a steep discount.
Morality doesn’t factor into the equation. It’s all about economics, rational behavior, and strategy. Apple’s 30% cut makes perfect sense. They’re not running a charity, despite public relations overtures that fool some Apple fanatics.
Facebook’s move seems radical at first blush. They’re battling the big, evil corporation that rips off developers. Unfortunately, Facebook has its own shady history of monopolistic abuses.
Beyond the message warning users of Apple’s share of their purchase, Zuckerberg’s conflict with the company is nothing new. He recently sided with Epic Games in their ongoing and heated battle over Apple’s hefty in-app purchasing take. The Facebook founder also pointed out anti-competitive features of Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 operating system.
The multi-faceted conflict is similar to the prisoner’s dilemma scenario in game theory. As Congress moves to investigate Apple, Facebook, Google, and others, the perpetrators are all pointing fingers at each other over anti-competitive practices.
It’s difficult to imagine that Apple’s App Store monopoly will remain. While they have every right to take a 30% cut of third-party developers’ revenues, iPhone and iPad users have no other choice. iOS and iPadOS users can only purchase apps through the App Store. The most likely action will be for Apple to allow third-party developers to distribute software through the web and third-party app markets.