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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took a competitive swipe at Apple on Monday over the fees the iPhone maker charges companies to sell wares using its App Store.
In a blog post that hit moments before Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at his company’s high-stakes developers’ conference, Zuckerberg told content creators that it won’t charge them until at least 2023 for using Facebook to distribute their work, promote events or sell subscriptions.
Zuckerberg even singled-out Apple by name.
“When we do introduce a revenue share, it will be less than the 30 percent that Apple and others take,” Zuckerberg said.
He said the decision to not charge fees would “help more creators make a living on our platforms.”
The controversy over Apple’s fees hit a boiling point last year when the iPhone maker booted “Fornite” creator Epic Games from its App Store for launching an in-app payment system that enabled the video game company to circumvent Apple’s stiff 30-percent fees for in-app purchases.
Fortnite ended up suing Apple in a move that was widely applauded by a number of large tech companies, including Tinder owner Match Group and streaming music giant Spotify.
Zuckerberg’s shot is just the latest in a long-running feud between the two tech giant, which culminated earlier this year in Apple introducing a privacy update that stands to severely hamper Facebook’s advertising business.
Facebook has claimed the move could hurt small businesses’ ability to effectively target digital ads that boost their revenues. It even took out a full-page newspaper ad to oppose the move under the headline, “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”
Zuckerberg’s dig came about an hour before Cook took the stage at Apple’s annual WWDC developers’ conference, where Cook sought to shift attention away from the Fortnite fight and toward new updates to iOS features including FaceTime, iCloud, iMessage and Siri.
The all-virtual presentation highlighted more privacy options for paid iCloud accounts and a “Find My” service that helps find errant AirPods. There were no major product announcements.
Forrester analyst Julie Ask said the improvements Apple showed off, like the “universal control,” play to Apple’s strengths in blending its products and services.
“The news today was nothing ‘new new,’ like holy cow how did they make that happen,” she told the Associated Press. “But each of us picks up our phone 100 or 200 times a day, and they’re making 100 little moments a day better, more seamless, and easier.”
A decision in the Epic case, which recently revealed that Apple made at least $100 million off commissions from “Fortnite” during the two-and-a-half years the game was available on the App Store, is expected in the coming weeks.
While Zuckerberg only called out Apple by name, Google has also come under fire for similarly high app store fees. Following criticism from app developers like Spotify and Microsoft, Google said in March that it would cut its fee from 30 to 15 percent for the first $1 million of revenue a developer earns each year.
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