Is Project Spartan Facebook’s Strategy to Challenge Apple’s App Dominance?

Despite being overlooked by Apple in favor of Twitter for seamless integration into iOS 5, Facebook is forging ahead with its plans to circumvent the App Store via an HTML5-based web application tailored for Mobile Safari, known as Project Spartan.

The initiative, which is hardly a secret and has been discussed extensively on social media platforms, aims to undermine Apple’s monopoly over app distribution. By leveraging the unrestricted nature of web access on iOS devices, Facebook intends to carve out its own niche in the app market.

The social media behemoth is collaborating with 80 external developers, including Zynga (Farmville, Hanging With Friends) and the Huffington Post, to develop a range of applications.

A TechCrunch blogger, MG Siegler, provided a detailed examination of Project Spartan, explaining the process of app acquisition: “Envision accessing the mobile web version of Facebook and discovering a menu for a new category of apps. Selecting an app would load it from its respective server, and a Facebook interface would immediately encapsulate the app, providing basic functionalities of Facebook along with the integration of essential elements like Credits.”

Credits, Facebook’s proprietary payment system, mirrors Apple’s payment framework used for apps, music, and e-books.

By offering HTML5 games, news readers, and other apps through an alternative purchasing route, Facebook aims to capitalize on its vast mobile user base, which nears 100 million.

Siegler highlighted that while Project Spartan is designed to challenge Apple, it also presents an opportunity to support Apple indirectly. By showcasing the potential for developers to create appealing content using HTML5, Facebook is encouraging a shift away from Adobe’s Flash technology—a transition that Apple has long advocated for.

With an anticipated launch in the coming weeks for Mobile Safari users, it will be intriguing to observe Apple’s reaction to this strategic move by Facebook.


Donald is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest insights and updates on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Donald covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When he’s not writing, Donald enjoys exploring the capabilities of his MacBook Pro and capturing moments with his iPhone camera.