Facebook wants Apple to let users pick their own messaging app

Facebook is making an extra push to convince Apple to let iPhone users choose their own preferred messaging app, an effort that can open an option to make its own Messenger app one of the default messaging tools on iPhones.

According to a report in The Information, Facebook executives have sharply ramped up their criticism of Apple in recent months.

Encouraged by Apple making software changes and relaxing App Store rules, the social networking giant now wants Apple to do the same for messaging apps.

“We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone,” Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s vice president in charge of Messenger app was quoted as saying in the report on Saturday.

“Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway.”

Facebook has asked Apple over the years to consider opening up default messaging but it “never agreed”.

Google’s Android mobile operating system already lets users choose their default messaging app.

With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple has introduced an option to change default apps for browsing the Internet and handling email.

But messages are still stuck on Apple’s built-in software.

“The main guess is that messaging drives hardware sales,” Chudnovsky said.

Facebook recently acknowledged that Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 may lead to over 50 per cent decline in its Audience Network advertising business.

Following this, Apple postponed the full enforcement of privacy practices in iOS 14 software release.

In a friendly gesture, Apple has also temporarily waived its customary 30 per cent App Store fee on in-app purchases for paid online events by small businesses on Facebook.

The social networking giant said last week that online event fees will be processed through Facebook Pay without Apple collecting its 30 per cent cut.

This Apple waiver will last until December 31 and will not apply to gaming creators.

Despite Apple reversing its decision, Facebook appeared not very happy.

“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the iPhone maker needs to be scrutinised.

In an interview with Axios, Zuckerberg said that people should be looking into the “unilateral control” that Apple has over “what gets on phones, in terms of apps.”

Apple had also rejected Facebook Gaming app on the App Store, as it was a direct threat to the livestream gaming service Apple Arcade.

According to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the company managed to launch an iOS version of its gaming app after it was “forced to make a concession to bring it to the App Store”.

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