Technology companies are increasingly taking their fight against Apple’s 30% “Apple Tax” to the court of public opinion, with Facebook telling Reuters that Apple blocked their attempt to tell customers that Apple was taking a 30% cut of the revenue intended for businesses when sessions are booked on the iPhone via Facebook’s app.
The 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.
At issue was a small notice saying Apple was taking a 30% cut of bookings made via the iPhone app.
“Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes. Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience,” Facebook said in a statement.
According to Facebook, Apple rejected the app citing a rule that bars developers from showing “irrelevant” information to users. Apple had earlier declined Facebook’s request to zero-rate the service for small businesses.
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.
While it appears Apple successfully blocked Facebook from informing buyers of the Apple tax via a banner in the app, I suspect the company, which has been accused of swaying elections, is able to find other ways of communicating the information to their 2.7 billion monthly active users.