Comedy sometimes ensues when rival companies try to sway consumers through advertising, like the old back-and-forth referee commercials between Anheuser-Busch and Miller (anyone remember those?), or the Mac and PC ads. As such, Apple
is having some fun at the expense of Google
—the Cupertino company has strategically placed another billboard trolling its competitor, just like it did at CES earlier this year.
The new billboard reads, "We're in the business of staying out of yours. Privacy. That's iPhone." The giant text sits next to an outline of an iPhone XS
(or iPhone XS Max), and is clearly visible from outside a Sidewalk Labs building. Sidewalk Labs, if you are not familiar, is an "urban innovation organization" (basically a design firm) owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet
The billboard is calling out Google's privacy
practices. Apple famously drew a line in the sand
against the FBI when it tried strong-arming the company into building a backdoor into iOS. The FBI was trying to crack an iPhone that had belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, but Apple's stance was that a backdoor would leave all iPhone owners vulnerable to an added security risk.
Eventually the FBI backed down after supposedly finding another agency to help thwart the iPhone's security. To be fair, however, Google has also championed the importance of encryption. At the same time, it has also had several privacy blunders
through the years (Apple has not been immune to blunders, either).
Apple's ad was erected amid a privacy debate in Ontario, in which the province's information and privacy commissioner has asked the governor to audit its laws ahead of the smart city Sidewalk Labs is building. The smart city will feature cameras, sensors, and of course data collection.