Apple Blocks Google and Facebook’s Enterprise Certificate, Breaking Their Internal iOS Apps
Feuds between tech giants are fairly common, and we’ve come to see our fair share of them unravel over the years. Today, we get to witness one between three market behemoths; namely Apple, Google and Facebook. Apple has shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps. The Verge received information from a source that stated the ban caused several early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps to stop working. Other affected apps include Google’s employee-centric apps such as one Gbus app for transportation and their internal cafe app.
Google and Facebook both distributed internal apps to consumers
The move comes shortly after Google was found distributing a private app that monitored how people use their iPhones. The app has since been deleted, but the damage appears to have been done. In a statement to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said, “The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologise. We have disabled this app on iOS devices.”
On a similar vein, Facebook was also caught red-handed when it was revealed that they had been using Apple’s program for internal app distribution to track customers with a “research” app. The app, much like Google’s Screenwise Meter, was supposed to be for internal use only. Apple has since shut down Facebook’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps, from early releases of Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp to other employee-only apps.
Following the removal of Facebook’s internal apps, Apple said in a statement, “Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked.” Apple’s decision to pull Google’s enterprise certificate comes despite Google pulling its Screenwise app and apologising. Apple wants to make it clear that anyone who breaches their policies will get punished for it, regardless of their size.
It is worth noting that both Facebook’s Research app and Google’s Screenwise apps are optional and users must consent to join the programs. The problem lies in the fact that both companies are effectively bribing users with gift cards and other goodies in exchange for their internet browsing patterns, and that’s not a good thing. Companies such as Google and Facebook already mine copious amounts of data off their users, and it’s good to see them getting penalised for it.