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The email chain, revealed by Epic Games as part of the lawsuit against Apple, provides an earlier context for Facebook’s battle with Apple for its App Store.
Last August, Facebook said Apple’s App Store rules prevented it from launching its Facebook Gaming iPhone app the way it wanted.
Facebook CEO Cheryl Sandberg said the company must remove the part of the app that plays games ̵
Now, emails between three former Apple executives, including Steve Jobs, since 2011 show that a similar conflict between Apple and Facebook may have been part of the reason for the delay in launching a Facebook app for the iPad more than a decade ago.
Apple’s iPad came out in 2010, but Facebook didn’t release an app for it until October 2011. Between those two dates, a Facebook engineer even declined a public blog post, citing delays in launching the app in part due to “tight relationship with Apple. “
In July 2011, then-Apple software chief Scott Forstal sent an email to former Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller and Jobs. He said in a statement that he had talked to Mark – probably Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – about the Facebook iPad app.
He wrote that he told Mark that Facebook should not include “embedded apps” in its iPad app for Facebook.
“It’s not surprising that he wasn’t happy about it, as he thinks these apps are part of the ‘whole Facebook experience’ and he’s not sure they should make an iPad app without them,” Forstall wrote.
At that time, Facebook turned its social network into a platform for games and applications. The most famous of these was Farmville, a game in which users maintained gardens on their Facebook accounts.
Facebook wanted Apple to compromise. Mark suggested, according to Forstall:
- Facebook can skip a directory of apps in the Facebook app – even links.
- Facebook may prevent third-party applications from running in embedded Web View or primarily in a browser in the Facebook application.
- Facebook wanted Apple to allow user posts on the news app-related show. Forstall writes that they were filtered at the time, as touching these posts would do nothing.
- Facebook has suggested tapping one of these links to the app in the feed to switch the user to their own app or take them to the App Store, if any, or otherwise connect to Safari, the iPhone’s web browser.
Jobs, then CEO of Apple, replied from his iPad: “I agree – if we remove the third offer of Fecebooks, it sounds reasonable.”
Three days later, Forstall followed, saying he had a long conversation with Mark and that Facebook did not like Apple’s counter-proposal to ban Facebook applications from connecting to Safari.
“But according to Mark, there is no obvious way to distinguish between a poker game and the NYT. Both are Facebook developers and provide Facebook integration, ”writes Forstall.
Schiller, who was Apple’s head of marketing until last year and heads Apple’s board of directors to review whether applications will be approved by Apple, summed up Apple’s position.
“I don’t understand why we want to do this,” Schiller wrote. “All of these applications will not be native, will not have a connection or license with us, will not view them, will not use our APIs or tools, will not use our stores, etc.”
When the iPad app for Facebook finally launched, he said he would not maintain his own iOS credit currency for apps like Farmville, a compromise similar to what Apple executives discussed.
In recent years, rivalries between the two Silicon Valley neighbors have intensified. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken slightly veiled photos of Facebook’s privacy practices and uses Facebook as an example of a recent feature to request apps “not to be tracked.”
Facebook is running an ad campaign to say that the iPhone maker’s privacy features hurt small businesses. He also went on to change the rules of the Apple App Store, criticizing the Apple Store’s 30% fee for online events in addition to his complaints about its gaming app.
Facebook is not part of Epic Games’ argument in its legal battle against Apple and its App Store policies. The trial began on Monday and is expected to last three weeks.