Elon Musk was sued by the Twitter shareholder for manipulation

“Despite having some of the most popular apps in the world, Meta’s ability to innovate with its products and services and even reach its customers is determined by, and in some cases, extremely limited, by the most popular mobile operating systems, such as Apple’s iOS., ”the filing said.

Meta submitted the comment as part of an ongoing study conducted by NTIA for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s White House Competition Council, established by the Biden Administration last year as part of an executive order to study competition in the market in various sectors of the US economy.

Apple responded by filing a statement:

Apple believes in colorful and competitive markets and through the App Store, we’ve helped millions of developers around the world make apps the most beautiful ideas that are changing the world. The App Store is an unprecedented growth engine with turbo-charged competition and innovation for developers large and small. Today, third-party apps, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, are among the most popular apps on the App Store. We all have an interest in supporting a strong developer community, and we intend to stay on that path.

Privacy has always been at the heart of what we believe. At Apple, we believe they own user data and they must decide whether to share their data and with whom. App Tracking Transparency gives users the option of whether or not to allow apps to track them by linking their information to data from third parties for advertising purposes, or sharing their information with data brokers. These rules apply equally to all developers-including Apple-and we’ve received strong support from regulators and privacy advocates for this feature.

Meta filing focuses on three areas: web browsing, as it relates to Apple’s restrictions on what web apps can do compared to native iOS software; gaming and the restrictions Apple imposes on developers trying to bundle HTML5 and cloud-based games within existing apps (like the Facebook app); and Apple’s App Tracking Transparency initiative, the privacy feature the company launched last year that Meta said will spend approximately $ 10 billion in advertising revenue this year.

“Taken together, Apple’s restrictions on third-party web browsers, its restrictions on third-party gaming apps, and its ATT framework severely limit the ability of developers to create and the ability of consumers to enjoy cross-platform apps that can lower barriers to migration from Apple to Android and other devices, ”the filing continues. “Apple’s self-serving tactics prevent consumers from realizing the innovation and benefits of a dynamic and otherwise well-functioning mobile app ecosystem.”

Meta’s dispute with Apple over app store restrictions isn’t new by any means, but it has intensified over the past few years as Meta increases its investments in the gaming sector. The social networking giant attempted in 2020 to publish a dedicated Facebook Gaming app on Apple’s App Store that would feature livestreaming, similar to Amazon’s Twitch, along with mobile games that can be played instantly without the need to download, either using the HTML5 technology or via streaming from the cloud.

Apple has repeatedly rejected the app because of a series of cloud gaming restrictions that have forced the iPhone maker to update for clarity. However, many of the restrictions remained following the update, resulting in a high-profile back and forth between the two companies that has only become increasingly bitter because Apple has targeted Meta with privacy changes. of iOS and Tim Cook took public shots of Mark Zuckerberg and his company’s business model.

Meta eventually removed the gaming components from the Facebook Gaming app to publish it on the App Store. Later, it asked users to try a web version that went beyond Apple’s restrictions; Apple says it allows web apps for cloud gaming and similar features on the iPhone, but it has strict rules on integrating the same features within apps unless the app is focused on something else. (That’s why, for example, you can play HTML5 mini-games within the main Facebook app-because according to Apple’s logic, it’s basically a social networking platform and not a gaming.)

Meta cites shifting costs and ecosystem lock-ins as reasons why it doesn’t lightly rely on Google’s Android, with fewer restrictions on what apps can and can’t do with regard to to play. “The restrictions that Apple imposes on cross-platform gaming, web-based, and ad-supported apps prevent them from lowering barriers to migration and locking consumers into iOS devices,” he said. of confrontation. “Apple’s policies restricting cloud games and HTML5-based games have prevented Meta from introducing features that will allow developers to share and monetize, and iOS device users to enjoy, in various games.… These limitations have hampered the growth of Facebook Gaming and prevented it from emerging as a solid competitor to Apple in game discovery and distribution. ”

The Meta filing did not mention Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite that sued Apple and Google in 2020 because of many of these same restrictions. However, the comment makes many of the same arguments as Epic did in those cases. Epic’s case against Apple is currently tied to appeals, and Google’s similar suit has yet to get a court date.

“Apple’s restrictions serve to keep the App Store as the primary place for users to discover and access games on iOS devices,” the filing concludes. “They also have the effect of maintaining high migration barriers to an Android device, as users’ game data is often stored in native iOS game apps and cannot be easily transferred outside the Apple ecosystem, whereas the Instant Games and cloud gaming services allow for a seamless transition between iOS and Android devices. “

Update 5/26, 2:08 PM ET: Added a statement from Apple.


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