Facebook is supporting Fortnite maker Epic Games in its lawsuit against Apple, marking another low in the relationship between the two tech giants.
According to Steve Satterfield, a director of privacy and public policy at Facebook, the social network company thinks that it is, “really important that the court understand far reaching impact of Apple’s unfair policies.”
Epic’s widely battle publicized battle with Apple involves the commission Apple charges on in-app purchases. Fortnite, which was among the most popular games in the App Store, decided that it could make more money if it sold in-app purchases outside the App Store.
However, when Apple caught wind of this it pointed out that it contravenes the agreement Apple has with developers. It subsequently made the decision to boot Fortnite from the App Store. Epic immediately responded with a lawsuit, accusing Apple of being a monopoly. In a court filing made in September, Apple said that, “Epic’s lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money.”
Facebook vs. Apple
Facebook has also had its issues with the App Store. In August, it said that Apple stopped it from passing on information about Apple’s 30% commission to users. This related to Facebook’s new online events feature. Facebook also blasted Apple over having to launch an “inferior” version of its Facebook Gaming app without mini-games for users to play. “We had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Internally, Facebook was plunged into temporary chaos by Apple when Apple broke Facebook’s corporate apps in January 2019. This took place after Apple found that Facebook was taking advantage of its Apple developer certificates to distribute a “research” app outside of the App Store. This violated Apple’s privacy policies.
Whatever animosity has existed for the past few years seems to have bubbled over this year, however. This week, Facebook took issue with one of the big privacy features in iOS 14 and the impact it said this would have on small businesses. It took out a full-page ad in major newspapers to argue this point.
It’s not yet clear exactly how Facebook will factor into the Epic vs. Apple battle. The lawsuit will go in front of a jury in 2021.