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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Facebook objects to Apple fees, becoming a big new app store critic

Facebook on a phone

Angela Lang

Facebook has objected to the 30% fee Apple charges for purchases that happen within apps running on iPhones, a major way to obtain revenue for Apple and an increasingly contentious issue for developers. The fee hurts businesses trying to make the most of a new feature in Facebook’s app to sell services like video streams or online classes, the social-networking giant said, according to a Bloomberg report Friday.

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“”We went through our usual channels to suggest strongly to them to waive their fee or to let us use Facebook Pay — one of the two — and they declined,” Facebook app leader Fidji Simo told Bloomberg, adding that Google did permit the utilization of Facebook Pay. “Helping small businesses recover from COVID is a critical thing that all tech companies should help with.”

The move comes a day after Apple and Google ejected Epic Games’ popular Fortnite game from their app stores for trying to bypass in-app payment rules. Fortnite launched lawsuits fighting its case, setting up a battle over simply how much control Apple and Google should have over computer software that operates on the all computing platforms they get a handle on. App store fees are a central point in Congress’ new antitrust scrutiny of tech giants.

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Facebook, Apple and Google didn’t straight away respond to requests for comment.

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