SAN FRANCISCO, United States - Facebook is readying a lawsuit aimed at loosening Apple's grip on the App Store that serves as an exclusive gateway onto iPhones, a tech news outlet reported on Thursday.
The leading social network is preparing an anti-trust civil suit accusing Apple of abusing its control of the App Store by requiring outside developers to abide by rules not applied to its own software, The Information reported.
"As we have said repeatedly, we believe Apple is behaving anti-competitively by using their control of the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses," Facebook told AFP, declining to confirm or deny the report.
Apple did not reply to a request for comment.
The dispute between the tech giants centers on changes in the latest version of Apple's iOS operating software, which include a tracking transparency feature that Facebook claims will cripple its ability to serve up targeted ads.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during a conference call with investors on Wednesday that Apple was becoming one of his company's biggest competitors.
"Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own," Zuckerberg said.
"Apple may say that they're doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitive interests."
Facebook is not alone among those complaining about how Apple rules the App Store, where it collects 30 percent of sales or subscription fees third-party offerings.
Some developers say Apple takes too big a bite of the revenue and maintains rigid policies that may hamstring services competing with those of the iPhone maker. Fortnite-maker Epic Games has taken Apple to court over the practice.
Apple has argued its App Store delivers billions to independent developers, and that its practices are reasonable compared with other digital marketplaces.