Nov 30, 2022 - Technology

Zuckerberg says Apple's policies not "sustainable"

Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday added to the growing chorus of concerns about Apple, arguing that it's "problematic that one company controls what happens on the device."

Why it matters: Zuckerberg has been one of the loudest critics of Apple in Silicon Valley for the past two years. In the wake of Elon Musk's attacks on Apple this week, his concerns are being echoed more broadly by other industry leaders and Republican lawmakers.

Details: "I think the problem is that you get into it with the platform control, is that Apple obviously has their own interests," Zuckerberg said at The New York Times' Dealbook conference.

  • "[T]he fact that companies have to deliver their apps exclusively through platforms that are controlled by competitors — there is a conflict of interest there," he said. That conflict of interest makes Apple "not just a kind of governor that is looking out for the best of people's interests."
  • Zuckerberg also noted that Apple's policies differ from other tech giants, including Microsoft and Google, which allow apps to be sideloaded onto devices if they're inaccessible in app stores.
  • "I do think Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control, unilaterally, what apps get on the device, and I don't think that's a sustainable or a good place to be."
  • Changes to Apple's app-tracking policies last year are expected to cost Meta billions of dollars in lost ad revenue.

Between the lines: Zuckerberg's comments come days after Musk publicly attacked Apple, alleging the company's app store policies are an abuse of power.

  • Asked about Musk's content moderation decisions, Zuckerberg didn't go as far as to endorse his strategy, but said, "I kind of think the world in the industry gets more interesting when people take some different approaches."
  • "[Y]ou can agree or disagree with what Elon is doing or how he's doing it. But I do think it's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out in terms of the approaches he's taking."

The big picture: Zuckerberg's appearance comes as Meta struggles to maintain the same level of meteoric growth that it's enjoyed for the past decade.

  • The company, which announced big layoffs earlier this month, has struggled to grow ad revenues amid the broader economic slowdown. Its stock has taken a hit as investors become frustrated that Meta's investments in the metaverse have grown too costly.
  • Zuckerberg addressed some of those concerns Wednesday, assuring that the vast majority of what the company is focused on, and will continue to focus on, is its ad-based social media business.

What's next: Asked about TikTok, one of Meta's fiercest new competitors, Zuckerberg said it raises "a very complex set of questions" about the involvement of the Chinese state with TikTok's affairs. "I'm sure it's complicated."

Go deeper:

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