Apple reportedly tried to partner with Facebook to get a cut of its revenue

Facebook and Apple have been at odds for a number of years; Apple previously announced at WWDC 2020 that iOS would require apps to prompt users to opt-in for cross-app ad tracking. Facebook spent much of the next few months speaking out against Apple’s plans and predicting revenue instability due to the upcoming changes, but the feature was released in iOS 14.5 back in April 2021. Somewhat surprisingly, however, a new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Facebook and Apple were working on a partnership and revenue sharing agreement before this all fell apart.

According to that diary, Apple and Facebook were considering a subscription service that would offer an ad-free version of the platform. And with Apple reducing in-app purchases, including subscriptions, it could have been a very lucrative deal indeed.

Another agreement that was debated and eventually became a point of contention was that Apple would take a cut of “boosted posts,” which essentially amounts to paying for a post to be presented to a larger audience. Facebook has long considered boosted posts as part of its advertising portfolio; as the diary Notes: Small businesses often use boosted posts to reach more people. The issue boiled down to Apple saying boosts should be considered in-app purchases that would be subject to the 30 percent revenue cut the company is taking. Facebook, on the other hand, claimed that these are advertising products that are not subject to Apple’s cut.

Since rolling out its user tracking changes in 2021, research firm Insider Intelligence claims that 37 percent of iPhone users have opted to let companies track their activity across apps. Since the change went into effect, Facebook’s (now Meta) revenue growth has slowed significantly — and last quarter, Meta reported its first revenue decline in company history.

Given that these talks reportedly took place between 2016 and 2018, we are a long way from those talks. Apple is doing its best to position itself as a privacy defender, and Meta…well, Meta is busy making the Metaverse a thing. But at least for now, advertising is the only significant way Meta generates revenue, so the company must continue to adjust to a world where iOS app-tracking protection is a thing most users embrace.

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