We reported a month ago that Facebook was accusing Apple of being anti-small business by preventing them from expanding their business to online events using Facebook’s paid events platform. Facebook had promised to zero-rate the service to help small business out, but Apple was still intent on charging them the 30% Apple Tax.
Apple has been facing increasing pressure on a number of fronts, and today Facebook announced that Apple will allow Facebook to use its Facebook Pay service on iOS for a limited time:
Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne told TechCrunch:
“This is a difficult time for small businesses and creators, which is why we are not collecting any fees from paid online events while communities remain closed for the pandemic. Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30% App Store tax.”
The exception will not apply to online games on Facebook’s platform, with Facebook Gaming Vice President Vivek Sharma saying, “We, unfortunately, had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses.”
Facebook’s new service would let online influencers and other businesses earn money during the pandemic by hosting paid online events such as cooking lessons or exercise classes.
Facebook, who was themselves zero-rating the service during the pandemic, has framed the issue as the company attempting to help small businesses become more digital to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic, and Apple as evil and greedy for taking money from the pockets of struggling companies.
Apple, which is currently the richest publicly traded company in the world worth more than $2.1 trillion, has been portrayed as uncaring, monopolistic and greedy after applying policies designed to secure a large percentage of any digital trade which takes place on the iPhone platform. The company has faced public complaints by the likes of Microsoft and Google over cloud subscription gaming, and is currently embroiled in a heated court battle with Epic Games over their 30% transaction fee for in-game purchases, all while under increasing scrutiny from regulators in USA and Europe.