It is interesting, and according to a new report from The Verge, Meta is experimenting with its in-Facebook app store.
It would enable developers to showcase their apps and facilitate direct downloads for users without them leaving The Social Network.
The Verge says that Meta is planning to let people in the EU directly download apps through Facebook ads. Hence, it sets the company up to compete with Google and Apple’s app stores.
The new ad will start as a pilot with a handful of Android app developers later this year.
The move, as The Verge notes, will apply to European users and developers only. It responds to the incoming EU Digital Markets Act (DMA).
It will require Google and Apple to open their respective mobile platforms to alternative methods of downloading apps.
It could open the door for Meta to take more control over app distribution and potentially in-app payments; it eliminates all the current restrictions and taxes the two tech giants place on Android and iOS interactions.
Meta has long criticized Apple’s approach, particularly on this front.
In 2020, amid a public spat over Apple’s fee structure for in-app purchases, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg labeled Apple’s approach as ‘monopolistic’ and harmful to competition in the space.
It was sparked by Meta’s push to allow creators to make money from virtual events on Facebook amid the COVID lockdowns that had canceled IRL live events.
But Apple refused to issue its 30% cut on in-app purchases, limiting creator intake. Apple eventually paused its fees in light of the situation but resumed taking its share shortly after.
Several others have also criticized Apple and Google’s similar approach on this front, with both Meta and Twitter seeking to side-step their revenue cut from their subscription programs.
It offers variable pricing for purchases in-app and online or where those taxes don’t apply.
The potential to control this element independently, and generate more direct income for Meta and its partners, could be a major opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how the EU applies its DMA approach and whether that allows alternative app stores and extends to other transactions as a result.
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