Zuckerberg also said Facebook will launch a “payout interface” to help creators see how much money they’re losing to fees from companies such as Apple and Google.
“But to bully and gaslight developers into thinking that we need to be kissing Apple’s feet for permitting us to add billions of dollars of value to their platform is not only greedy, stingy, and morally reprehensible, but deeply insulting,” he said.
The criticisms hit at the underlying power dynamic between Apple and its developer community: developers depend on Apple to reach users but Apple depends on developers to build apps that help attract users.
As Arment put it: “Without our apps, the iPhone has little value to most of its customers today.”
Epic’s lawsuit brought to the fore many of the issues developers have with Apple, and those tensions are still simmering in the backdrop of this week’s WWDC.
“It’s fair to say we want to give as much money back to developers,” Baszucki said, noting his company has “great relationships” with Apple and other app store operators. “If those store fees were to change, a majority of that we would give back to the creator community.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company touted its support for developers several times during the Epic trial — including the $50 million it said it spends to put on WWDC.
As it unveiled new software features for users and developers on Monday, Apple reminded them of the benefits of its ecosystem. The App Store now has 600 million weekly visitors from 175 countries and regions, the company said, adding that it has paid more than $230 billion to developers since the App Store launched in 2008.
In what is perceived as a possible reaction to accusations that its iOS ecosystem is closed and restrictive, Apple announced it will make one of its popular products, video calling service FaceTime, accessible to users of rival platforms Android and Windows.
“Apple at WWDC is walking a tightrope around convincing software developers to double down on its platform while… collecting its 30% fee,” Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, told CNN Business.
A showdown over privacy?
Even as Apple courts developers at this week’s event, it’s also doubling down on privacy protections with the potential to aggravate some developers and companies.
During the keynote Monday, Apple announced several new controls for users. Those include “mail privacy protection,” which gives users the ability to hide their IP addresses and location from companies, and “hide my email,” which generates a random email address to sign up for new websites so companies don’t have users’ real email addresses. Another feature, called “app privacy report,” shows users each time an app accesses their phone’s location, contacts, camera or microphone as well as all the third-party websites that app is sharing their data with.
But Apple is sticking to its guns, and betting that superior privacy and security features make its devices worth paying for, developing for and paying commissions on.
“We don’t think you should have to make a tradeoff between great features and privacy,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said during the keynote. “We believe you deserve both.”
Clare Duffy contributed to this report.