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Facebook creating iOS app platform - report

Zynga allegedly on board for HTML5 and Safari-based distribution service

Online reports suggest that Facebook is about to launch its own HTML5-based mobile platform for iOS devices, with a possible release within weeks.

According to sources at TechCrunch the technology is codenamed Project Spartan and will work through Apple's existing Safari web browser.

Facebook's alleged main goal with the project is to offer an alternative to Apple's App Store download service, with up to 80 external developers working on a range of apps, "from games to news-reading apps".

FarmVille developer Zynga, which has always had a difficult relationship with Apple, is reported to be amongst the companies on board.

Game developers in general are said to be a major focus for the technology, with Facebook promoting the use of HTML5 in favour of Flash - somewhat ironic given Apple's own war against the technology.

The technology allegedly works via a drop-down menu, with a Facebook wrapper immediately launching the software and maintaining some basic Facebook elements such as Credits.

TechCrunch alleges that Project Spartan is indirectly a result of a falling out between Apple and Facebook over iOS 5. Although Apple has partnered with Twitter for the new operating system, it's suggested that Facebook was originally the preferred partner.

Facebook has made no official announcement.

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