Zuckerberg slams Apple’s ‘problematic’ app store dominance

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Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg slammed Apple over its dominance over the app store market Wednesday, ramping up his criticism of the tech giant on the heels of similar comments made by new Twitter CEO Elon Musk. 

Zuckerberg called Apple’s control in the app store market “problematic” at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit.

“It is the only one where one company can control what apps get on the device. I don’t think it’s sustainable or good,” Zuckerberg said. 

Apple only allows apps to be downloaded through the Apple App Store on devices that run on its iOS, such as iPhones and iPads. The level of control has led to scrutiny from regulators, as well as app developers and fellow tech companies. 

Zuckerberg said “Apple obviously has their own interests,” unlike a government, and argued that there is a conflict of interest if “companies have to deliver their apps exclusively from platforms controlled by competitors.” 

Musk, who took over Twitter at the end of October upon closing his $44 billion acquisition, criticized Apple’s app store control earlier this week. He slammed the company over the up to 30 percent commission fees it charges over in-app purchases, calling it a “secret” tax, and alleging Apple threatened to pull Twitter from the app store without giving a reason.

Musk pulled back some of the criticism on Wednesday, tweeting that he had a “good conversation” with Apple CEO Tim Cook and “among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store.”

“Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so,” Musk said. 

Meta’s feud with Apple dates back further than Musk’s recent foray into the social media sector. The Facebook parent company, which rebranded as Meta last year, has long been pushing back on Apple’s dominance in the app store. 

Meta has also criticized Apple for changes to its operating system last year that requires apps to ask users if they want apps to track their data across other apps. The update cut into Meta’s revenue from targeted advertising. 

Apple has defended its App Store policies as helping to increase safety for users. 

Congress is also considering a proposal that aims to rein in the power of Apple and Google’s app store dominance. The Open App Markets Act would add regulations, including restricting companies from requiring users of their devices to only use their app marketplace and blocking them from collecting commission fees up to 30 percent. 

Versions of the bill advanced out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, but have not been called to a floor vote. 

Another bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, targets Apple and Meta, as well as Google and Amazon. The bill aims to limit the tech giants from giving preference to their own products and services over rivals. That proposal also advanced out of the committees, but has yet to be called for a vote. 

Proponents of the bills are pushing for votes on the legislation before the end of the year, seeing the lame duck session as the best chance to advance them before Republicans take control of the House.

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