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Mark Zuckerberg claims Apple's App Store charges 'monopoly rents,' stifles innovation

Credit: Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took aim at Apple's App Store on Thursday, calling the platform a deterrent to innovation and competition.

The comments specifically referred to Apple's ongoing saga with various gaming-related apps, including Epic Games. But they come just about one month after both Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook testified before the U.S. House Judiciary committee about alleged anti-competitive practices at both of their companies.

During a webcast with employees on Thursday, Zuckerberg said that Apple has a "unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones." He also claimed that Apple's App Store "blocks innovation, blocks competition" and allows the company to "charge monopoly rents," BuzzFeed News reported.

"That's innovation that could really improve people's lives," Zuckerberg said. "And Apple's just balking at it."

More specifically, Zuckerberg appeared to be answering a question about the ongoing Apple and Epic Games saga. For example, he called Apple's attempt to block Epic Games' Unreal Engine a "problematic" and "extremely aggressive move."

Apple was barred by a U.S. District Court from revoking the Unreal Engine developer account. That same court also denied an Epic Games request for a temporary restraining order that would restore "Fortnite" to the App Store, which was removed after Epic implemented a direct payment system in violation of Apple's guidelines.

The comments from Zuckerberg are only the latest illustration that there's no love lost between Apple and Facebook.

Just a day prior to Zuckerberg's webcast on Thursday, Facebook warned advertisers that new privacy features in iOS 14 could lead to up to a 50% drop in advertiser revenue.

On Thursday, Facebook also claimed that Apple blocked an update to its social media application that informed users of Apple's 30% cut of in-app purchases.

Earlier in August, Facebook complained that Apple forced it to release an "inferior" version of its Facebook Gaming app to be accepted onto the App Store. Prior reports indicated that Apple blocked the app at least five times due to various developer guideline violations.

The contentious relationship between the two tech giants stretches further back than that. In 2019, Facebook was found to be using its Enterprise Certificate to bypass App Store restrictions and get users to download a data-harvesting "research" app. Apple temporarily revoked the certificate — a move that chaos at the social media giant.