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Meta’s Zuckerberg denounces Apple app store move as ‘onerous’

Speaking from a position of strength after announcing strong earnings, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of bad faith compliance with Europe’s DMA.

Scott Bicheno

February 2, 2024

3 Min Read

In his brief answer to a question on the matter during Apple’s analyst call, Zuck (pictured) echoed the sentiments of other major app developers towards Apple’s response to the EU Digital Markets Act. Having been forced by the DMA to allow access to app stores and payment platforms other than its own, Apple decided to attach so many strings to the use of alternatives as to make them very unappealing.

“I don't think that the Apple thing is going to have any difference for us because I think that the way that they've implemented it, I would be very surprised if any developer chose to go into the alternative App Stores that they have,” said Zuck. “They've made it so onerous, and I think so at odds with the intent of what the EU regulation was that I think it's just going to be very difficult for anyone, including ourselves, to really seriously entertain what they're doing there.”

The broader context of the call was to discuss Meta’s Q4 and full year numbers, which were excellent. Profits were up an amazing 200% year-on-year for the quarter, prompting Meta to issue its first ever dividend and announce a $50 billion increase in its share buyback programme. That resulted in 16% lift in its share price, taking Meta’s market cap over the $1 trillion mark for the first time. These numbers are especially impressive when you consider how different things looked just a year or so ago. If you bought Meta shares on 4 November 2022 you would have quadrupled your money by now.

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“This move is a testament to Meta’s commitment to shareholder value and marks a significant shift in perception, not only for the company itself, but also for the broader metaverse and AI sectors,” said deVere Group Analyst Nigel Green in emailed comments. “The initiation of dividend payouts and the massive share buyback program serve as a clear indication that Meta is confident in the profitability of its metaverse and AI ventures.

“This confidence will have a ripple effect on investor sentiment, transforming scepticism into optimism. Shareholders, who were once concerned about the potential financial pitfalls of these ventures, which many had assumed would be an abyss for money, now see tangible returns on their investments, creating a more positive outlook for Meta and the sectors it operates in.”

All these good vibes will have provided a stark contrast with the public humiliation Zuck was forced to endure the previous day, during a US Senate hearing on the role Big Tech may or may not play in facilitating child abuse. It is, of course, a very serious matter, but a number of Senators chose to poison the well and cheapen the debate by indulging in the most toe-curling grandstanding.

As you can see in the videos below, Zuck was forced to publicly apologise to families who apparently feel their children died as a direct result of interactions on social media, and generally put up with an appalling degree of bullying and hectoring. These public hearings are usually little more than crude political theatre but, given the subject matter, it’s especially disappointing to see political leaders forgo the opportunity to make substantial progress in favour of trying to make themselves look tough.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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