Mark Zuckerberg is the Latest to Criticize Apple for ‘Control’ Over App Store

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday joined a growing list of industry leaders, regulators, and entire countries that are unhappy with Apple’s App Store dominance, saying that it raises a “conflict of interest” for the iPhone maker (via Fortune).

“It is problematic for one company to be able to control what app experiences end up on a device,” Zuckerberg the Facebook founder said in an interview at the New York Times DealBook conference. The “vast majority of profits in mobile ecosystem go toward Apple,” he added.

Apple charges app developers a 15-30% commission on all sales made through its App Store, which is the only place iPhone users can download apps from. The tech giant’s controversial App Store practices and overall dominance in iOS app distribution have been the subject of many legal proceedings and antitrust investigations.

Most notably, Apple’s App Store policies are the centrepiece of its still-ongoing case against Fortnite developer Epic Games, and the European Union this month started implementing extensive legislation to curb Apple’s dominance in the mobile app ecosystem starting in 2024.

It even looked like celebrity billionaire Elon Musk, another outspoken opponent of Apple’s App Store commission, was gearing up to take on the giant after he declared “war” on Apple earlier this week. However, the situation may have calmed down considering Musk earlier today thanked Apple CEO Tim Cook for showing him around the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.

Zuckerberg also said during the interview that Apple’s content moderation rules for apps are a “conflict of interest” since they often hamper its competitors. According to Zuckerberg, this makes Apple “not just a governor looking out for people’s interests.”

Meta has taken a massive hit since Apple introduced its privacy-focused “App Tracking Transparency” prompt on iOS last year, losing around $10 billion USD per year in ad revenue.

Last month, Meta accused Apple of using its control of the App Store to “undercut” rivals while growing its own ads business. Meta reported its first-ever drop in quarterly revenue back in April and cut 11,000 jobs earlier this month.

Zuckerberg also commented on Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter, saying he thinks “it’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out.”

While Meta appears to primarily be focused on the (currently money-losing) “Metaverse,” Zuckerberg said that narrative is “basically wrong.” He added that the company will now focus its efforts on monetizing WhatsApp, noting that it is “largely untapped.”