Mark Zuckerberg Attacks Tim Cook’s “Ridiculous” Campaign Against Ads, Data Collection

In mid-September, Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an open letter outlining his company’s commitment to privacy. Cook explained that his company makes customer privacy a high priority and that collecting vast amounts of user data simply isn’t a priority for Apple.

“We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers,” explained Cook. “We don’t 'monetize' 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.” 

Cook went on to admit that Apple does rely on advertising to a small degree with its iAd platform, but that it doesn’t contribute significantly to its bottom line. “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,” Cook continued. “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.” 

That same month, during a wide-ranging interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Cook reiterated those comments. While not naming companies like Facebook and Google specifically, Cook proclaimed, "We take a very different view of this than a lot of other companies have. Our view is, when we design a new service, we try not to collect data.” 

“You’re not our product,” Cook added.

But Cook wasn’t finished; he took things one step further by getting in one more jab. “Follow the money. And if they're making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried.”

mark z 2

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 30, definitely heard the comments from Cook loud and clear, and he took the time to address them in a new interview with Time Magazine.

"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," Zuckerberg fired back. He went on to add that it’s actually Apple that doesn’t have its customers’ best interests in mind, citing the relatively high pricing of its products compared to competitors.

"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!"

According to IDC forecasts for 2014, the average selling price for Apple’s iPhone is $657. By comparison, the average selling price for smartphones running Google’s Android operating is less than half that price at just $254.

It’s interesting to see such a war of words brewing between tech’s “elite class.” Mark Zuckerberg is just the latest to respond to Tim Cook’s war of words. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt already responded to Cook’s comments back in early October. 

"Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple,” said in an interview with CNNMoney on October 2. “They're catching up, which is great."

As for Cook’s assertion that companies like Google aren’t doing enough to protect the private information of its customers, Schmidt fired back, stating, “Someone didn't brief him correctly on Google's policies. It's unfortunate for him."