Emails from Steve Jobs and Apple executives reveal decade-long conflict with Facebook

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A messaging channel revealed by Epic Games in its lawsuit against Apple provides earlier context on Facebook’s battle with Apple on its App Store.

Last August, Facebook said Apple’s App Store rules prevented it from releasing its Facebook Gaming iPhone app the way it wanted.

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company needs to remove the part of the app that plays games – the app’s purpose – in order to get approval on the Apple App Store for them. iPhones.

Now emails between three former Apple executives, including Steve Jobs, from 2011 show that a very similar conflict between Apple and Facebook was probably part of the reason for a delay in the release of an app. Facebook for iPad over ten years ago.

Apple’s iPad was released in 2010, but Facebook didn’t release an app for it until October 2011. Between these two dates, a Facebook engineer quit in a public blog post, citing delays in releasing the app in part because of a “strained relationship with Apple.”

In July 2011, Scott Forstall, then Apple’s software manager, emailed former Apple Marketing Director Phil Schiller and Jobs. In the post, he said he spoke with Mark – presumably Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – about the Facebook iPad app.

He wrote that he told Mark that Facebook should not include “built-in apps” in its Facebook iPad app.

“Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t happy with this, as he sees these apps as part of the ‘whole Facebook experience’ and isn’t sure whether to create an iPad app without them,” Forstall wrote.

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At the time, Facebook was transforming its social network into a platform for games and applications. The most famous of these was Farmville, a game where users maintained gardens inside their Facebook accounts.

Facebook wanted Apple to compromise. Suggested brand, according to Forstall:

  • Facebook could omit an app directory in the Facebook app – not even links.
  • Facebook could prevent third-party applications from running in an “embedded web view,” or essentially a browser within the Facebook application.
  • Facebook wanted Apple to allow user posts to the app-related news feed. Forstall wrote that these were filtered out at the time, as tapping on those messages wouldn’t do anything.
  • Facebook offered to tap one of those app links in the feed to switch the user to a native app or push it to the app store if there is one, or create a link. to Safari, the iPhone web browser.

Jobs, then Apple’s CEO, replied from his iPad, “I agree – if we take out Fecebooks’ third proposal, that seems reasonable.”

Three days later, Forstall followed up, saying he had had a long conversation with Mark and that Facebook didn’t like Apple’s counter-proposal to ban Facebook apps from connecting to Safari.

But according to Mark, there is no obvious way to distinguish between a game of poker and the NYT. Both are Facebook developers and provide Facebook integration, ”Forstall wrote.

Schiller, who was Apple’s head of marketing until last year and heads Apple’s executive review board that calls whether apps will be approved by Apple, summed up Apple’s position.

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“I don’t see why we want to do this,” Schiller wrote. “Not all of these apps will be native, they won’t have a relationship or license with us, we won’t review them, they won’t use our APIs or tools, they won’t use our stores, etc.”

When Facebook’s iPad app finally launched, It said that it wouldn’t support its own currency in iOS credits for apps like Farmville – a compromise along the lines of what Apple executives have been discussing.

In recent years, the rivalry between the two neighbors of Silicon Valley has heated up. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken slightly veiled snapshots of Facebook’s handling of user privacy and used Facebook as an example for a recent feature asking apps to “not track.”

Facebook has mounted an ad campaign to say that the iPhone maker’s privacy features are hurting small businesses. He also continued to change Apple App Store policies, criticizing the Apple App 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.

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