Why are Apple and Facebook beefing?

December 21, 2020

Source: Piñata Farms

Despite his mild manner, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is known to throw shade… and he’s been throwing it Facebook’s way for years.

The issue is opposing business models.

  • Apple sells high-priced hardware and controls the entire experience (with an emphasis on privacy).
  • Facebook offers free (ad-supported) social and communication tools to billions of users.

Over the years, Cook has criticized Facebook for “collecting gobs of data” and “monetizing its customers” per the New York Times.

Mark Zuckerberg’s retort: Apple products are expensive…

…and not accessible to all people, while Facebook’s products are.

Last week, Facebook escalated matters by taking out full-page newspaper ads criticizing Apple’s new privacy policy that requires iPhone users to consent to letting companies track them across apps.

Facebook says it’s “standing up to Apple” and protecting the interest of small businesses that need tracking to best target ads (conveniently leaving out how Facebook benefits).

Apple has a ‘strategy credit’ in regards to privacy

Tech analyst Ben Thompson describes this as “an uncomplicated decision that makes a company look good relative to other companies who face much more significant trade-offs.”

However, it does look like a winning hand… one that Mark Zuckerberg himself has acknowledged.

In spring 2019, he announced that FB was ramping up “privacy-focused communication” in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Apple is far from out of the woods

Its iron fist on the App Store, which is a gatekeeper for 1B+ iPhone devices, is a clear source of monopoly concern. In fact, Facebook is offering up “information” for Epic Games in its antitrust suit against Apple.

The truth is that Facebook and Apple have a very symbiotic relationship right now: Facebook needs Apple’s iPhone owners, while Apple needs Facebook’s mobile products (WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, FB).

Per the NYT, matters could get interesting in the future because both tech giants have ambitions in augmented reality.

For now, Apple looks to have the upper hand in the privacy policy beef — and Tim just cooked Zucky McHarvard with this tweet:

Source: Tim Cook’s flamethrowing Twitter account

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