A customer views an Apple Inc. iPhone XS. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
A customer views an Apple Inc. iPhone XS. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Apple Is Said to Take Action on Google Apps Following Facebook

The action is similar to one Apple took Wednesday against Facebook Inc. after it violated the iPhone maker’s development rules.

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pulled important app-development tools from Google after the iPhone maker decided the internet giant broke its rules, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook Inc. was hit in a similar way on Wednesday, a sign that Apple is wielding its power as operator of the most-lucrative app store to press for more user privacy.

Google employees can’t access test versions of iPhone apps they’re making, or use internal apps related to transportation scheduling and food, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

"We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. Apple couldn’t be reached for comment.

Apple offers an "enterprise certificate" that helps some companies work on iPhone apps without going through the usual app review process. Facebook and Google used this to collect data on user activity for internal research. When this was reported earlier this week by TechCrunch, both companies stopped the activity. Apple said Facebook had broken its rules and pulled the social-media company’s certificate. It’s now punishing Google, too.

While both research programs let the internet giants track activity, Facebook’s was more invasive because the company could see much more traffic from users’ phones. The social-networking company also monitored teens, paying them $20 a month if they signed up with parental consent.

Google and Facebook rely on the enterprise certificate to test the iPhone versions of the apps they’re making. Without this option, some of the companies’ most important app-development work is disrupted.


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