Earlier this week Meta announced that it would begin testing tools to let creators sell things for real money in Horizon Worlds and would charge a fee of 47.5% of their earnings. The fee structure seemed at odds with prior comments from Meta which have criticized app store fees from the likes of Apple and Google. Now Apple is accusing the company of hypocrisy.

Following the news this week that Meta planned to take nearly half of a creator’s earnings in Horizon Worlds, Apple didn’t miss the chance to point out that this was coming from a company which has on multiple occasions criticized Apple’s app store fee of 30% (after 15% for the first $1 million in annual revenue).

Speaking to MarketWatch, Apple spokesman Fred Sainz had this to say:

Meta has repeatedly taken aim at Apple for charging developers a 30% commission for in-app purchases in the App Store—and have used small businesses and creators as a scapegoat at every turn. Now, Meta seeks to charge those same creators significantly more than any other platform. [Meta’s] announcement lays bare Meta’s hypocrisy. It goes to show that while they seek to use Apple’s platform for free, they happily take from the creators and small businesses that use their own.

And, well… he isn’t wrong. Just last year Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg not-so-subtly said in a very widely viewed keynote that being subject to the app store fees of Apple and Google had changed the way he viewed the industry, going on to say that he wants his company to take “a different approach” when it comes to its creator platforms.

The last few years have been humbling for me and our company in a lot of ways. One of the main lessons that I’ve learned is that building products isn’t enough. We also need to help build ecosystems so that millions of people can have a stake in the future, can be rewarded for their work, and benefit as the tide rises, not just as consumers but as creators and developers.

But this period has also been humbling because as big of a company as we are, we’ve also learned what it is like to build for other platforms. And living under their rules has profoundly shaped my views on the tech industry. Most of all, I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things, and holding back the entire internet economy.

We’ve tried to take a different approach. We want to serve as many people as possible, which means working to make our services cost less, not more. Our mobile apps are free. Our ads business model is an auction, which guarantees every business the most competitive price possible. We offer our creator and commerce tools either at cost or with modest fees to enable as much creation and commerce as possible.

Indeed, those words seemed to fly in the face of Meta’s announcement that it would change creators a fee of 47.5% of their earnings for anything sold through Horizon Worlds. Not to mention that the company has also levied a 30% fee (the same that Apple and others charge) against developers since the very beginning of its VR app store.

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Meta’s strongest defense, perhaps, is that Horizon World creator fees aren’t entirely out of line with similar platforms available today, but one must ask why the company wouldn’t want to set a better precedent given its public statements criticizing others for similar behavior.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • kontis

    Bold for Apple to call anyone hypocrite when they became the greatest hypocrites in tech in recent years.

    They trashed everyone in industry using targeted ads, limited it for everyone, which would be great but… they left them working for themselves. And now all targeted ads profits go to Apple, except it’s no longer called this way. It was never about the good for consumers, but for maximalization of their own profits.

    They boasted about being privacy champions, but started researching next-gen AI-on-device technologies that will be analyzing in real-time behaviors of the device owner (iPhone or Apple Glasses – potentially including eye tracking and in the future even thoughts via BCI). It will trigger alert informing your government based on the rules your government chosen. Experts already warn about inevitable false positives, but it’s insanely dangerous even if 100% perfect.

    They are literally developing a digital policeman who will be checking all your closets every single minute to ensure the public is safe from potential risk of YOU. Imagine this tech being available in Russia or China. And imagine if one day someone really bad is elected in your contry. Forget about any protests, you will be in jail the moment you start talking to anyone on any messenger app no matter what encryption is used. The potential is absolutely terrifying and truly dystopian. Lives of LGBT people in many countries will become hell. It will be 1000x better and more efficient then the great firewall of china. This is Minority Report level of insanity.

    I always thought Apple was a company much more respectful towards users than Facebook or Google. I changed my mind completely. Which is a pity, because some of their hardware engineers are incredible magicians.

    • There should be a law forcing companies to give 85% of the earnings to the people who’s data they sold.

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      • Arno van Wingerde

        Nonsense, I am happy with a modest 30% share…

  • ANY company taking more than 15% total from any developer/creator for using their work in some way should be called out and challenged imo, legally if necessary, and that includes both Meta and Apple.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Absolutely. It’s financial rape, what these megacorps are doing to creators.

      • We need more companies and people taking out class-action lawsuits against these abusive giants imo.

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    • ViRGiN

      How do you make money on Steam or on Apple platform. Nobody offers anything. Want to make a game? You gotta code it, design it, choose the engine, do the networking.

      Meta is creating all the tools to create something from nothing for everyone. You can’t create a game from scratch. You definietly can sculpt a 3D elephant and sell it as virtual prop. WHY shouldn’t they be able to charge half the profit of your work, when they are the ones designing and sharing all the tools and the platform? There is no huge learn curve here. It’s harsh, but looks like it’s the only metaverse that will actually be in use, and in turn, profitable for users.

  • Apple publicly calling out Meta over their metaverse approach is illuminating for other reasons. Suggests they are actually paying attention and worried about Meta’s VR and upcoming XR devices and the ecosystem and marketplace Meta is building. Do they fear Cambria and then Seabright will take off before they get there? Or potentially be a lot better when the Apple headset lands?

    • Ad

      No. They’re doing this because now Facebook has platforms and stores that can be used as evidence in the argument.

  • Ad

    He’s also lying about ads, Google and Facebook both colluded to drive the price of ads up.

    • ViRGiN

      And Steam has the monopoly both in software sales and now in hardware of portable PCs – they are selling Deck at 0 profit or loosing money on it. How come Steam is never to blame for anything?

      • Ad

        Because they don’t have a monopoly in software sales but should lower their cut, and because portable PC gaming devices is not an actual product category that even slightly matters. You foaming at the mouth bots don’t understand what any of this is about apparently. It’s like saying pacemakers and fidget spinners should have the same regulations.

        • ViRGiN

          Meta never had any monopoly and never will. Yet that’s what you constantly say for over 2 years. You’re just a sucker for Valve, and shit on Quest 2 for being sold at cost, while not mentioning Valve doing the same with Steam Deck , causing every other company into portable PC market to basically bankrupt. Start taking actions against the things you love – you aren’t a Meta user, so why you’re so afraid of them?

  • The different approach must be charging waaaay more than the other guys.

  • Mike

    Greed from all ends , be nice , fair, and honest and good arises . How much money does it take to enjoy life and be responsible to be fair.