Facebook planning HTML5 app platform for iOS dubbed 'Project Spartan'
Zynga rumoured to be on board
The suggestion that Facebook is about to take on Apple on iOS, then, is as intriguing as it is potentially risky for the social network.
Yet TechCrunch reports Facebook is in the process of working on a marketplace that bypasses Apple's own App Store, handing the company a role in the platform's ecosystem.
Dubbed Project Spartan, the new venture is set to be delivered via HTML5 and served up on iPhone and iPad's Safari browser.
Up to 80 developers are said to be involved - including major names such as Zynga - with apps ready to be served up at an official unveiling within weeks.
But, though Facebook is yet to offer any official comment on Spartan, TechCrunch writer MG Siegler claims to have seen the platform in action.
Meddling with marketplaces
"Imagine loading up the mobile web version of Facebook and finding a drop-down for a new type of app," Siegler summarises.
"Clicking on one of the apps loads it and immediately a Facebook wrapper is brought in to surround the app. This wrapper will give the app some basic Facebook functionality, as well as the ability to use key Facebook elements like Credits."
Facebook Credits, Siegler reports, will be used to sell the apps themselves, as well as the in-app purchases included within.
It's believed Project Spartan will initially roll out on Safari for iOS, though Android will join the party soon after.