Facebook To Apple: Pucker Up, We Own The App Store

eating applesThat bites.

Photo: Jessica Mullen via flickr

At the official launch of Facebook’s App centre, Facebook executives made something very clear: They’re not competing with Apple’s App Store.Instead, they’re angling to control it, by weaving themselves deeply into Apple’s app ecosystem. (Google’s, too.)

There are two ways of reading this:

  • Facebook is continuing its rapprochement with Apple, following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s warm remarks about his company’s once-frosty relationship with Facebook at the D10 conference in May.
  • Facebook is sending Apple a warning—that it is a powerful driver of traffic to Apple and the app developers on which that company depends.

That’s not how Facebook would put it publicly, of course.

“We view Apple and Facebook as completely complementary,” said Facebook’s Doug Purdy.

Of course. But that’s right after a presentation in which Purdy mentioned the following eye-popping statistics:

  • 7 of the top 10 highest-grossing iOS apps use Facebook’s platform.
  • Facebook sent 83 million visits in May to Apple’s App Store—mostly through Facebook-integrated iOS apps that post users’ activity to the News Feed.
  • Also, in May, Facebook sent users to iOS apps they’d already installed 134 million times. 

Translation: Apple is highly dependent on Facebook for app downloads and usage.

Now, through Facebook’s App centre, the social network is going to take much tighter control over how that traffic flows to Apple.

With a new feature, Facebook users can also click a link on the Web version of the App centre and send a link to their mobile device to install the app.

This isn’t going to be a huge money-maker for Facebook.

But it is a great reminder of Facebook’s strategic value to Apple.

Or to Google—and if App centre lets Facebook play the two mobile platforms off each other, all the better for Zuckerberg & Co.

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