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Apple's conflict with Facebook goes all the way back to the Steve Jobs era

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  • Leaked emails between Steve Jobs and other executives at Apple show proof of this long-lasting conflict.
  • The emails also show that Jobs thought that Facebook “should not be allowed to host its own apps.”
  • This long lasting conflict is reportedly the reason why it took Facebook more than a year to create an iPad version of the Facebook app.



An email chain which was revealed as part of the lawsuit with Epic Games and Apple provides more context about the long lasting conflict that Apple has had with Facebook. Sometime in August last year, Facebook said that Apple‘s App Store rules were hampering them from releasing a gaming app for iPhones. They said that they were being “stopped from developing the app the way they wanted to.”

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said that they were forced to remove the gaming part of the application because otherwise it would have not been approved for the App Store.

Emails found between three Apple executives (including Steve Jobs) from 2011 show a very similar conflict between Apple and Facebook was likely a big reason for the delay of the Facebook app release for iPads over a decade ago. This truly shows how long this conflict has been going on for. Last year, when tensions began to rise again, Facebook publicly accused Apple of using their control over the App Store and iPhone to “harm the developers and consumers.” Knowing Apple, they were not happy about this statement.

The original iPad was first released in 2010, but Facebook was unable to make an app compatible with iPad until October 2011. In between those two dates (2010-2011), a Facebook engineer quit publicly in a blog post — citing delays in the apps release are partially because of a “strained relationship with Apple”. In 2011, Apple‘s then-software head Scott Forstall sent out emails to former Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller as well as Steve Jobs. He had allegedly spoken with Mark Zuckerberg, telling him that Facebook should not be allowed to include embedded apps in the Facebook iPad app. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg was not happy about this information. Eventually, when the Facebook app did launch, they said it would not support its own credits currency on iOS for apps like Farmville which were extremely popular at the time.

Jumping back to the present, this rivalry really hasn’t slowed down — it’s actually gotten pretty heated lately. The current CEO of Apple Tim Cook has taken light shots at Facebook‘s handling of user privacy and has used Facebook as an example for a recent feature about asking apps not to track you.

Facebook has since started an ad campaign to say that iPhones maker policy features are hurting small business and have also been criticizing Apple‘s 30% App Store fee.

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