Paid vs. free
Apple and Facebook are in battle with each other. As Techmeme editorialized a Wall Street Journal headline this morning:
Sources shed light on the increasingly personal battle between Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg, who in private reportedly said “we need to inflict pain” on Apple.
There are the overt reasons:
- Apple is increasing the privacy of its customers, blocking Facebook from harvesting data
- And so conversely Facebook is increasingly being blocked from profiting from Apple customer data
There are the covert reasons:
- Apple doesn't need advertising revenues, as its BMW-priced products and service bring in more revenue than it needs
- Facebook needs advertising revenues, as it is an otherwise free service
Reasons Facebook gives are nonsense, that Apple users won't "benefit" from targeted ads, and that small business will suffer.
Left unsaid is that Apple continues to harvest data on users. We don't know what it does with it, as its ad system is not widely lauded.
We can understand Facebook's desperation. While Apple has less than 10% worldwide marketshare in smartphones (50% in USA), its user base is wealthier than the Android user base and so Apple customers spend more.
Even as Apple cuts off Facebook, Google could do the same to Facebook (and Apple to Google), never mind the secret Facebook-Google agreement to favor each other. Basing your business model on free is precarious.
So why is Apple taking on Facebook? Being pro-privacy looks good in today's surveillance society. As Matt Mireles (@mattmireles) put it, "Tim Cook might be the biggest weapon we have in trying to save our democracy."