Facebook has been preparing for months a case to take legal action against Apple and its practices perceived as anti-competitive, according to the site The Information, as tension mounts between the maker of the iPhone and several large companies.
The social media giant has called in a law firm to prepare a lawsuit that accuses Apple of “abusing its power in the smartphone market to force app developers to follow App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to keep up, ”according to an article published by The Information Thursday.
The latest update to Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, scheduled for this year, will require app publishers to be transparent about the collection and use of users’ personal information.
They will also need to ask users for their permission to track them, an essential feature for ad targeting.
However, application developers, from social networks to video games, including e-commerce, entertainment or office automation, have no other choice but to go through the App Store, the download platform for iOS, to reach the hundreds of millions of consumers with iPhones and iPads.
“As we have said many times, we believe that Apple behaves in an anti-competitive way by using its control of the App Store to make more profit and at the expense of small publishers and small businesses,” responded a Facebook spokesperson for AFP, without confirming a possible complaint in preparation.
“Apple has every interest in using its position as a dominant platform to interfere with the way our apps and other apps work. And they do it regularly, focusing on theirs to the detriment of the growth of millions of companies around the world, ”took away Mark Zuckerberg, the head of the Californian group, during the presentation to analysts of the quarterly results the day before.
“The changes to iOS 14 mean that many SMBs will no longer be able to target their customers with personalized ads. Apple can say they are doing this to help people, but it is clearly in their best interests, ”he continued.
The billionaire now sees his neighbor as one of his “biggest rivals”.
Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, has the same for him. During a conference Thursday in Brussels on data privacy, he attacked Facebook without naming it, condemning “conspiracy theories fueled by algorithms”, according to comments reported by the American press.
“We can no longer turn a blind eye to the theory that all online interactions are good, and the longer they last the better,” he said. “If a company is founded on the ability to deceive users, on the exploitation of data, on non-choices, it does not deserve our praise. She deserves our contempt ”.
The business model of large digital platforms like Facebook and Google is based on free services and very fine-grained ad targeting on a very large scale. Apple, their neighbor in Silicon Valley, derives its income from sales of electronic devices and also from online subscription services (storage, music, etc.).
Facebook is not the only one to do battle with the apple brand.
Several companies have criticized it for years for the commission it levies on consumer transactions made through the App Store, which can reach up to 30%.
Epic Games, the publisher of the popular Fortnite video game, tried to bypass the iOS payment system: Apple banned the application from its devices until the summer of 2021. A lawsuit is pending.
The Cupertino group did not respond to a request from AFP. It regularly emphasizes its concern to protect data confidentiality and a level of commission equivalent to that of other platforms, including that of Google, necessary to ensure the security of transactions.
US authorities accuse most of the tech giants of abusing dominance in various industries. Lawsuits are already initiated against Google and Facebook.