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Facebook objects to Apple fees, becoming a big new app store critic

Two of the biggest tech companies don't see eye to eye.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
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Facebook on a phone
Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook has objected to the 30% fee Apple charges for purchases that take place within apps running on iPhones, a major source of revenue for Apple and an increasingly contentious issue for developers. The fee hurts businesses trying to take advantage of a new feature in Facebook's app to sell services like video streams or online classes, the social-networking giant said, according to a Bloomberg report Friday.

"For small businesses struggling through a pandemic, every dollar matters. We asked Apple to step up and cut their fees," Facebook said in a statement. "They declined."

Facebook won't charge fees for paid online events for at least the next year, the company said. Google did permit the use of Facebook Pay, Facebook app leader Fidji Simo told Bloomberg.

The move comes a day after Apple and Google ejected Epic Games' popular Fortnite game from their app stores for trying to bypass in-app payment rules. Fortnite launched lawsuits fighting its case, setting up a battle over how much control Apple and Google should have over software that runs on the computing platforms they control. App store fees are a central point in Congress' new antitrust scrutiny of tech giants.

Apple and Google didn't respond to requests for comment.