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Google Play is fair, Apple App Store ‘deserves scrutiny’ on monopoly: Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, earlier in the month slammed Apple’s move to block apps from tracking user behaviour on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch through the new iOS 14 slated for release in September. Now, Zuckerberg in a video-call inter…

Now, Zuckerberg in a video-call interview with HBO Axios has again attacked the Cupertino-company and said people should scrutinise the Apple App Store over the allegations of monopoly and unilateral control on what gets on App Store.

Zuckerberg added that more than 50% of Americans own an iPhone and more around the world. Probably, there are more than one billion Apple devices and he said people should look into Apple App Store policies. And, whether it is enabling developers to prosper.

Zuckerberg praised Google for its fair Play store policy, which allows budding app creators to get feedback from customers before formally entering the Play store. There is an option to side-load an application to an Android phone via developer mode.
When asked to be more clear whether he meant regulators to check into Apple App Store policies, Zuckerberg said– ” I think, there are questions. I think I’m not necessarily the person to answer that. So, I’m just trying to be sensitive to that. But, some of the behaviour raises questions and I do think some of that deserves scrutiny and they are getting scrutinied for that”.

Comments from Mark Zuckerberg comes close on the heels of Apple’s battle with Epic Games over commission issue on in-app purchases on Fortnite game.

In August, Epic Games launched Epic direct payment feature on Fortnite that bypassed the Apple payment channels and allowed a 20% discount on in-game currency (V-bucks) for customers.

Apple immediately took down the Fortnite game and also blocked the Epic Games developer account. Both the companies are fighting on the court and as per the latest development, they are no mood to compromise on their demand to roll back the direct payment feature and re-instant the Fortnite on App Store, respectively.

Even Google has taken down the Fornite from the Play store, but the companies are in talks to resolve the issue outside the court

But, Apple has gone a step further by demanding compensation from Epic Games for violating the contract and cheating the organisation for revenue.

Read more | Fortnite gaming app ban sets stage for ‘Epic’ battle with Apple, Google

Coming back to the topic at hand, Zuckerberg’s beef with Apple is more to do with the latter’s attempt to bring the strict user-privacy policy that will have a huge impact on Facebook’s ad revenue.

The upcoming iOS 14/iPadOS 14 will reset the tracking feature of all apps on the Apple device by default. Going forward Apps will need user permission to track user behaviour on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch.

Applications have Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to track user search behaviour even on the Google Search app and all apps. With that information, Facebook and others place targeted ads to the particular user when they return to their apps.

Apparently, Facebook tested the iOS 14 beta and witnessed more than a 50% drop in audience network publisher revenue. The company red-flagged the issue with fellow applications companies to force Apple to restrain from bringing the ad track blocker feature in iOS 14.

Taking note of the issue, Apple has agreed to delay the aforementioned feature until early 2021 so that app and game developers who serve free service don’t impact their revenue immediately. With extended time, they have been asked to tweak their apps.

As far as the side-load option allowed by Google on Android phones, Apple is right in not allowing this feature, as it has serious security risks. Several people have fallen prey on ransomware, lost money, sensitive data, get spied on by going into the shady website and installing malware-laced apps.

Also, Google too takes a 30% cut on in-app purchases the same as Apple, so there is very little evidence to suggest just the latter deserves scrutiny.

The irony is Mark Zuckerberg is also charged for being monopolistic in nature. After gaining wealth from Facebook, the company has either released apps similar to rival firms and even went ahead in acquiring them. Some examples include WhatsApp messenger and Instagram apps. The recent one is the Messenger Rooms, which offers video communication services similar to the Zoom app.

Nevertheless, all big firms Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, and Facebook are under the lens of Members of US Congress subcommittee over mergers, acquisitions, and alleged anti-competitive practices.

It remains to be seen, which companies come unscathed and those who get penalised.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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