Every so often in technological history there is a turning point that, sometimes without the need to raise too much noise outside the own circles of the people who follow the news of the sector, impact the whole world.
It happened when Microsoft gave in in its attempts to impose Internet Explorer as the default browser -or rather, they forced it-, giving Google the possibility to position Chrome and further strengthen its advertising commitment. Also, when Apple decided to make its own MP3, the iPod. A movement much less referenced than the launch of the first iPhone but that served as a trigger to change the music industry.
Now, a pulse that has more and more touches of bar discussion can change how we all relate to our data and the privacy of the internet economy. Or put another way, if data is still the great manna or an internet is possible where business is done in, a priori, healthier ways.
It’s not just about privacy yes or no
The announcement of the launch of a new version of iOS that will greatly limit the ability to track third-party apps in iPhone users has been the last workhorse between Apple and Facebook. The update itself will allow users to decide which apps track them to show ads or not even if they don’t actively use it. Something that is common today.
Of course, the short update and much of the Facebook business level, based on obtaining information tailored to each of our habits, routines, tastes and locations through metadata and then showing us advertising. Mark Zuckerberg’s company has been seeing how it loses capacity in this regard for a few years. due among other things to regulations such as the GDPR. But Apple’s default denial could be a definite blow.
However, it is not a contest where everything is black and white. In a way there is also an underlying monopoly debate. Apple, which has been fighting other companies such as Spotify, Netflix or Epic Games for years, could be accused of taking advantage of its ecosystem to weigh down competitors in other fields. Facebook has already sounded complaint bells in this regard, and has said – not without a certain cynicism – that “many small advertisers will be affected.”
The internet business model, in dispute
Facebook in any case, would see its business affected greatly. While Apple, historically used to having a lot of revenue from its hardware, is in a more comfortable position to carry the flag of privacy.
Apple has historically positioned itself as a protector of digital privacy, defending it as a greater good, while often criticizing Facebook’s business model, without naming the company. All of this annoys Facebook, which sees Apple as overreaching in a way that threatens Facebook’s existence, and is hypocritical, even when doing big business in China, where privacy is scarce.
What is at stake is how the Internet will evolve and which companies will dominate it. The visions of Facebook and Apple are divergent and increasingly incompatible. Facebook wants to capture and monetize on all possible devices and platforms. Apple wants to lure users into its own hardware-centric universe, in part marketing itself as a privacy-focused company. The outcome of the battle could affect the type of information that users see when they browse the Internet. And the business model itself prevailing in the network.
But up to this point there have already been many disagreements, simulations of rapprochement, and words on the air for those who want to understand them between the two companies. Something to which is added an apparent growing animosity among its CEOs.
The article Facebook vs. Apple: chronology of a disagreement that will mark the entire digital ecosystem was published in Hypertext.