During a company-wide meeting Friday, the Facebook CEO accused the tech giant of having a "stranglehold" on apps that are available for iPhones. Zuckerberg claimed the App Store policies allowed Apple to "charge monopoly rents" on third-parties, which ultimately harms innovation and user experience.
"[Apple has] this unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones," Zuckerberg said during the town hall, as reported by BuzzFeed News. He went on to point out that Apple's strict App Store rules have forced some developers to make difficult pricing decisions, as Apple takes a 30 percent cut from all in-app iPhone purchases. Zuckerberg claimed this level of control not only "blocks competition," it also helps Apple to keep commissions unfairly high.
According to BuzzFeed, Zuckerberg's comments came in response to Apple's decision to block certain gaming applications from the App Store. He also referenced the legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the creator of the wildly popular Fornite. Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic rolled out a feature that allowed users to bypass Apple's payment system and pay Epic directly. Apple also threatened to prohibit access to Unreal Engine, Epic's tool and game engine that is used by smaller developers.
Zuckerberg said Apple's plan to cut off Unreal Engine was an "extremely aggressive move" and "quite problematic." A judge recently ruled that Apple can continue to block Fortnite from the App Store, as Epic chose to breach its agreement with Apple; However, Apple could not block Unreal Engine.
"Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders," Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote, according to The Verge. "... With respect to the Unreal Engine and the developer tools, the calculus changes. The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers."