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  • Writer's pictureMweemba Simuyi

Big tech wars: Musk and Zuckerberg take shots at Apple and its App Store policies

Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the world’s richest person Elon Musk have lately been expressing criticisms of Apple and its App store policies, including its excessive control over devices and high commissions for in-store purchases.

Zuckerberg spoke about Apple during The New York Times DealBook summit on Wednesday, accusing it of “trying to control unilaterally what apps get on a device.”

According to Meta’s CEO, unlike Apple, Google allows users to download apps on Android devices without relying exclusively on the Google Play store. The anti-competitive environment created by Apple hence makes it hard to collaborate.

According to Zuckerberg, this creates “a conflict of interest” with companies that “deliver their apps exclusively through platforms that are controlled by competitors.” Previously, a number of countries launched investigations into Google, such as Germany, which took action against the company for conducting practices via its global mapping service that could unfairly disadvantage competitors.

Elon Musk also tweeted about a supposed misunderstanding where Twitter was potentially being removed from the App Store, saying the issue was resolved. Allegedly, Musk previously accused Apple of threatening to block Twitter.

Musk also complained about the up to 30% fee imposed on software developers for Apple’s in-app purchases, saying he would rather go to war with Apple than pay the commission.

Zuckerberg expressed his curiosity regarding Musk’s stance and the approaches he’ll be taking, as well as saying that the billionaire’s hasty decisions surrounding content moderation are not something he would typically go for himself.

“I tend to think that I don’t want one person or one company making those decisions, which is why we pioneered this oversight board for our content decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “People have a vehicle that they can appeal to outside of us.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had previously said, allegedly hunting at Facebook’s ad-based business model, that it is built on “misleading users, on data exploitation, [and] on choices that are no choices at all.” Apple’s new privacy update makes it much more complicated for Facebook to target users with advertisements.

“Based on our analysis, there are likely dozens of independent operators involved, as we only found shared code bases between small batches of apps,” said Lookout. “With that said, all the apps have a very similar business model, which is to trick victims into unfair loan terms and threaten them to pay.”

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