- Facebook said Apple refused to reduce its App Store fee for the social network’s new paid feature that could help small-business owners during the pandemic.
- Facebook executive Fidji Simo also told Bloomberg that the social-media giant was calling Apple out so that “they can join us and end up waiving their fees.”
- Facebook’s comments came a day after Epic Game announced it would sue both Apple and Google for removing the “Fortnite” app from their stores after the gaming giant learned how to skirt their 30% commission fees.
- Facebook, Apple, and Google — along with Amazon — remain at the center of a congressional antitrust probe.
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Facebook launched a new feature Friday that allows businesses to charge users to tune into livestreams, such as yoga classes. Facebook said it had asked Apple to reduce its standard 30% App Store commission or allow the company to “absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19.” But Facebook said, “Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue.”
Facebook won’t take a cut from any of the revenue generated from the new feature, according to company executive Fidji Simo, who told Bloomberg that the social-media giant was “calling out” Apple to waive their App Store fees.
Simo told the outlet that Google also refused to waive the 30% fee that it charges developers on its Play store, but the company is allowing the social-network giant to use its Facebook Pay product to avoid the in-app tax — Apple is not.
Facebook told Business Insider in an email that “for small businesses struggling through a pandemic, every dollar matters.”
Representatives for Apple and Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
News of Facebook’s new feature and its jab at Apple came a day after Epic Games filed a lawsuit against both Apple and Google for removing “Fortnite” from their app stores after the developer learned how to skirt the companies’ 30% commissions on in-app purchases. Apple said it removed the app because Epic Games “took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users.”
Developers have long taken issue with Apple’s commission, saying the high cut gives the tech giant and its services an unfair advantage in the market. Apple says it charges all developers 30% of all in-app purchases that users make. The fee was at the center of Apple’s role in a recent congressional hearing that probed CEO Tim Cook and other tech execs over antitrust concerns.
Both Facebook and Apple remain entangled in the antitrust probe, in which lawmakers are deliberating over whether tech’s “Big Four” have used monopolistic business practices to stifle the competition. Congress is probing Facebook over its acquisitions in recent years of would-be competitors, like WhatsApp and Instagram.
Congress is expected to release a report on its findings in the coming weeks.