In the morning news on January 29, it was reported that Facebook was preparing to initiate an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. A reputed source told the media that Facebook has been preparing for this case for months with external legal experts.
This lawsuit will accuse Apple of abusing its market power to force third-party developers, including Facebook, to comply with explicit set of rules, while Apple-branded applications do not need to comply with these rules. For example, Apple forces external developers to use its in-app payment service instead of the external developers’ own platform of choice.
EpicGames also has been embroiled in such an extensive case against Apple since a long time. As a result Fortnite is not available for Apple devices since some time!
The lawsuit will also target Apple’s prohibition of third-party messaging (messenger) applications from becoming the default applications on the Apple platform. In addition, Facebook may also invite other companies to jointly file this lawsuit.
However, in a media statement, a Facebook spokesperson did not confirm the litigation, but said, “We believe that Apple does have anti-competitive behavior. The company used its control of the App Store to downplay apps. Developers and small businesses are losing out a lot because of this.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Currently, Facebook and Apple, Amazon and Google are facing antitrust scrutiny in the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg both went to Congress in July this year to accept questions from members of Congress as part of an antitrust investigation. Both companies are facing a lot of pressure, but for different reasons: Facebook is under pressure because of its lucrative advertising business, and Apple is under pressure because of its app store policy.
Prior to this, the two companies rarely took their grievances to court. However, the fierce competition between Facebook and Apple can be traced back to at least 2014, when Cook lashed out at Facebook’s business model.
Recently, Zuckerberg also criticized Apple at Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call, accusing the company of anti-competitive business practices.
Zuckerberg said: “We have also seen that Apple’s business is increasingly dependent on exclusive applications and services to gain market share. Therefore, Apple has a full incentive to use its dominant platform to interfere with our work and other applications. They often do this in favor of their own apps, which affects the development of millions of companies worldwide.”
The two companies also blamed each other for their user data collection behavior. In a letter written to privacy protection organizations in November last year, Apple accused Facebook of “collecting as much data as possible” and “ignoring user privacy”. Facebook responded that Apple abused its dominant market position and “collected data according to its own preferences”.
Personally I hate to see any one Big player gaining a dominant position. We need competition at all levels to ensure a fair playing ground for everyone and for the bigger benefit of the consumers!
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