Mark Zuckerberg just slammed Tim Cook and Apple.
A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers … I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!
Previously, Cook went after advertising-supported businesses like Google and Facebook, saying they were not in alignment with customers because for them the customers served as the product.
“If [companies are] making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried,” Cook said in an interview. “And companies I think should be very transparent about it.”
It’s rare to see big technology executives — and in this case, two of the biggest — make such public attacks on each other’s companies.
Facebook’s entire business is built around collecting personal data, then selling advertisements tailored to that personal data.
Apple is the exact opposite. It sells hardware products, collecting very little data.
Cook has been using this as a selling point for Apple to consumers. The idea is that if you don’t want to turn over your personal information to a company, then you should use Apple products.
This is a bit rich coming just months after the iCloud hacking scandal. Nude photos of celebrities were posted online after hackers accessed iPhone accounts on which they were stored. Apple says iCloud wasn’t breached. It says hackers used “phishing” tactics to get access to accounts.
Still, it’s not good for Apple, especially if it wants to be seen a steward of users’ personal information.
As for Zuckerberg’s counterpoint, it makes sense. Consumers have repeatedly shown that they are willing to give up a little privacy for a great, free product.
Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users despite the fact that it uses personal information for advertising. Google has more than a billion users on its products, and it uses personal information. Twitter has hundreds of millions of users, and it relies on advertising based on personal information.
People don’t mind ad-supported products.
Further, the average iPhone costs over $US600, while the average Android phone costs half that. Zuckerberg is saying that if Apple were on the side of the consumer, it would lower prices and make its products more broadly available. After all, Apple has $US150 billion in cash on hand. It is the most profitable technology company in the world. It can afford to lower prices.
Facebook is free for everyone to use. The price for that is that it collects some user information. Zuckerberg and, based on their actions, consumers think that’s a fair deal.