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Apple's App Store Under Threat by Facebook

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Secret projects keep flying out of Facebook's headquarters.

Recently, TechCrunch got its hands on a wealth of screenshots for a new Facebook photo-sharing app that will launch on the iPhone sometime in the future. While the app will most likely shake up third party photo apps like Instagram and With, another Facebook project aims to rattle the entire smartphone industry.

It's called Project Spartan and it will be a HTML5-based alternative to Apple's App Store that will be accessible using the iOS' Safari browser. TechCrunch's MG Siegler believes it's the social network's intention to "break the stranglehold" Apple has on app distribution. Siegler writes:

"As of right now, there are believed to be 80 or so outside developers working with Facebook on Project Spartan. These teams are working on apps for the platform that range from games to news-reading apps. Some of the names should be familiar: Zynga and Huffington Post (owned by our parent AOL), for example."

He adds, "The goal is to have these apps ready to roll in the next few weeks for a formal unveiling shortly thereafter."

TechCrunch hears that Android will be a future target, but for now, Facebook is focusing on taking down the App Store.

And, really, what's the fun in taking down the Windows Marketplace, BlackBerry App World, or Ovi Store?

(See also: Sneak Peek: Facebook's Upcoming iPhone Photo App and Apple Will Last 100 Years, Google May Not, Says Economist)

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