Apple Inc dragged important app-development tools from Google after the iPhone creator decided the internet giant broke its rules, according to associates familiar with the matter. Google staffs can’t access test versions of iPhone apps they’re making, or use internal apps related to transportation scheduling and food, the people said. Security alerts are restricted too, one of the people said. They asked not to be identified sharing private matters. Apple reinstated their access hours later on Thursday evening. The iPhone maker had restored Facebook’s privileges earlier.
Facebook Inc.’s app development was stumbled in a similar way for about 24 hours, a sign that Apple is applying power as operator of the most-lucrative U.S. app store to push its methodology to user privacy. “We’re working with Apple to fix a provisional disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we believe will be resolved soon,” a spokeswoman at Alphabet Inc’s Google said in a statement. The company did not answer an additional question on the record about whether the concern was caused by Apple removing Google from its enterprise program. Apple did not return an appeal for comment.
Apple offers an “enterprise certificate” that supports some companies work on iPhone apps without going through the traditional app review process. Facebook and Google used this to collect data on user activity for internal research. When this was stated earlier this week by TechCrunch, both companies blocked the activity. Apple said Facebook had broken its guidelines and pulled the social-media company’s certificate until Thursday. It’s now punishing Google, too. Google says that it uses this info to see how people use their services, and to enhance Google apps “like YouTube, Android, Assistant, and Google Play; create enhanced ad experiences, which help us keep Google services free for everyone.”
After TechCrunch revealed on Tuesday that Research existed, Apple stopped permitting it to use its enterprise developer program. In a statement the company said, “Any developer using their enterprise certificates to hand out apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked, which is what we did in this case to secure our users and their data.” By Thursday afternoon, the situation for Facebook at least had amended. “We have had our Enterprise Certification, which allows our internal employee applications, restored,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We are in the procedure of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.” Still, Apple’s actions over the past few days signal its inclination to punish even Silicon Valley’s biggest players for infringing on its privacy rules.