Potential litigation would follow antitrust action that Epic Games brought against Apple last year. The developer seeks to change Apple’s business practices, including its reduced app sales and in-app purchases. Facebook and several other companies joined Epic in criticizing Apple’s “unfair” policies. Last month, Facebook said it would provide internal documents to support Epic’s case.
Like Epic, Facebook could seek changes to the App Store rules rather than monetary damages from Apple. Facebook has reportedly considered asking other companies to join the lawsuit, but there’s no guarantee that it will follow and sue Apple. For its part, Apple has argued that it does not have the largest share of the smartphone market and that its App Store rules reduce the risk of malware and scams.
When Facebook released its quarterly results on Wednesday, CFO Dave Wehner suggested that Apple’s plan to limit cross-site and cross-app tracking for advertising purposes, which should enter into force at the beginning of this year, could have an impact on advertising revenue.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg again slammed Apple on an earnings call yesterday. For one thing, it’s gotten a boost at iMessage to store “non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default, unless you turn iCloud off.” He claimed that WhatsApp was “clearly superior” when it comes to protecting people’s messages.
Meanwhile, the two companies face antitrust scrutiny from regulators. The Federal Trade Commission and most state attorneys general Facebook sued last month. They accused him of anti-competitive practices by taking over rival companies Instagram and WhatsApp and hope to reverse those acquisitions. Apple, meanwhile, is the subject of a European Union antitrust investigation and would be part of another probe by the Ministry of Justice.