Facebook joins criticism of Apple’s app store rules

Following the escalation of the dispute over Apple’s taxes for in-app purchases, Facebook also sided with the critics. The online network introduced a new function at the weekend: The possibility of organizing chargeable events on Facebook. This could be yoga classes or cooking classes, for example. Facebook promised that the entrepreneurs would get all the proceeds – except from users of Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

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And Facebook blames the iPhone company for it. “We asked Apple to reduce the App Store tax by 30 percent or to let us use Facebook Pay so that we can take all the costs off the shops struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “Unfortunately, they refused both requests and small and medium-sized businesses will only get 70 percent of their hard-earned revenue.”

Entrepreneurs should receive the entire purchase price from users on the web or with devices using the Google Android operating system – provided they live in a country where the online network has introduced its in-house payment service Facebook Pay.

Apple levies 30 percent on purchases made within apps on its iPhones and iPads. This has been true since the introduction of the App Store in 2008. Recently, however, there has been increasing resistance to this. One reason is the exorbitantly increased business volume: When the App Store was launched, Apple founder Steve Jobs said the levy should only serve to cover the costs of the platform. With the growth of the app economy, market observers assume that there will be much more than the costs. Apple does not separately show the revenue and costs of the app store in its business figures.

On Android devices, Google also takes 30 percent of the purchase price in its Play Store app platform. One difference, however, is that Android apps can basically also be downloaded from other sources.

This week, the makers of the popular online game Fortnite became the spokesmen for the protests against the amount of the levy. The developer company Epic Games introduced the option of buying virtual items directly from their mobile apps for less. Fortnite was promptly banned from Apple’s app platform and Google’s Play Store. Epic had lawsuits against Apple and Google ready – and called on users to protest. Fortnite has more than 350 million users worldwide, according to Epic. How many of them play exclusively on iPhones or iPads is not known. Before Facebook, Spotify and Tinder had already stood behind Epic Games and welcomed the attempt to break Apple’s app store monopoly.


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