Tech

Facebook to Apple: In-App Fees Are Hurting Small Businesses During the Pandemic

By Vana Lavides , Aug 14, 2020 08:23 PM EDT

Apple recently removed Fortnite from its app store, and Epic Games files a lawsuit in return. Now, Facebook joins the fight against the iPhone maker. 

NBC News reported that on Friday, Facebook accused Apple of hurting small businesses with its 30-percent in-app commission fee. This charge came a day after Epic Games sued Apple for anticompetitive behavior.

Facebook just launched a new set of tools for small businesses. One of the tools is the "Paid Online Events," which lets businesses worldwide charge Facebook users to attend online events like exercise classes or other tutorials. The feature is free for now since Facebook is considering the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses.

Facebook said Apple would not allow them to process the payments independently for Apple iOS users. This restriction means some in-app purchases would still be subject to the 30-percent fee.

Meanwhile, Google said that with Android, it would allow Facebook to process payments through its own system. This permission avoids additional fees.

In a blog post, Fidji Simo, Vice President and Head of Facebook App, noted that they at Facebook had asked Apple to reduce the 30% App Store tax or to let them offer Facebook Pay. With this, they could "absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19," according to Simo. However, Apple dismissed both requests, said Simo, and "SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue." 

Simo has been quoted as saying that "Helping small businesses recover from COVID is a critical thing that all tech companies should help with." She then explained that "The reason we're calling them [Apple] out here is we hope they join us and end up waving their fees, so that's really the goal here."

Apple's charges have been criticized for years. With the ongoing antitrust investigations in the U.S. and Europe, this issue has become even more sensitive for the iPhone maker.

Apple has not responded to this issue. 

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