Tim Cook to Google Users: 'You're Not the Customer. You're the Product.'

Tim Cook to Google Users: 'You're Not the Customer. You're the Product.'

Apple posted a new privacy section on its website on Wednesday, which some have seen as a reaction to the recent incidents including the infamous leak of celebrity nude photos that were allegedly stolen via iCloud.

The privacy section on Apple's website addresses a host of issues like spelling out the policy of the company across various products; how Apple responds to Government's request for user data; and even tips on how you users can best manage their data privacy and security.

The introduction to the section includes a letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook himself.

"At Apple, your trust means everything to us," the letter opens. "That's why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled."

Cook goes on to talk about the introduction of Apple Pay and the recent move to enable two-factor across all iCloud data. The Apple CEO then goes on to take a dig at companies like Google that offer most of their products for free, relying on personalised ads to make money.

"A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realise that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product," wrote Cook, rehashing a frequently used Internet maxim.

Without naming anyone, he went on to make a more direct dig at Google, which runs the world's biggest online advertising business.

"Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products," Cook added. "We don't build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't 'monetise' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple."

Apple of course runs its own ad network called iAd, though you may have never heard of it, as iAd really failed to take off. Cook goes on to say that, unlike Google's ad network, iAd does not personalise ads based on your email.

"One very small part of our business does serve advertisers, and that's iAd," explains Cook. "We built an advertising network because some app developers depend on that business model, and we want to support them as well as a free iTunes Radio service. iAd sticks to the same privacy policy that applies to every other Apple product. It doesn't get data from Health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail, and you can always just opt out altogether."

Is the Apple CEO justified in his comments or should he concentrate on improving Apple's services instead of having digs at Google and others? Let us know via the comments.


For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2024 hub.

Further reading: Tim Cook, Internet, Google, Apple
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