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Apple wanted ‘a slice of Facebook’s revenue’

Apple and Facebook have a long-running public feud, based primarily on the latter’s collection and use of personal information. A new report from The Wall Street Journal today goes in-depth on this battle, with the interesting tidbit that Apple once proposed a deal with Facebook to get a cut of its revenue.

The feud between Apple and Facebook gained momentum last year when Apple rolled out its new App Tracking Transparency feature as part of iOS 14.5. The feature requires that apps ask users for permission before tracking users across other apps.

Today’s report reveals that in the years before App Tracking Transparency launched, Apple actually tried to work with Facebook on deals that would give the company “a slice of Facebook’s revenue.”

According to one source cited in the report, Apple executives wanted to “build businesses together” with Facebook.

In the years before the change, Apple suggested a series of possible arrangements that would earn the iPhone maker a slice of Facebook’s revenue, according to people who either participated in the meetings or were briefed about them. As one person recalled: Apple officials said they wanted to “build businesses together.”

One of the ideas discussed by Apple and Facebook was to create an ad-free version of Facebook for a monthly subscription. Apple insisted the monthly subscription be offered through the App Store’s payment system, thereby giving it a 30% slice of all the revenue.

An Apple spokesperson responded to today’s report with the following statement:

“Every day, we meet and collaborate with developers of all sizes to make suggestions, address concerns, and help them continue to grow their businesses,” said an Apple spokesman, who added that the rules for app developers like Facebook are “applied equally to all developers because we think that fair enforcement results in the best user experience.”

An Apple representative also added that there “is no connection between any discussions of partnerships and the ad-tracking changes that were later implemented.”

Outside of Facebook, today’s report noted that Apple has “discussed similar business models with many developers.” Apple and Facebook also argued over whether paying to “boost” a Facebook post should be an in-app purchase.

You can read the full report from The Wall Street Journal on Apple News.

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