Zuckerberg vs. Cook is more than just Facebook vs. Apple

“For over a century, ads were the driving force behind newspapers and magazines, and then TV,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine. “These ads went out to everyone, and marketers hoped for the best in terms of return on investment.”

“Enter Google, which offered a way to deliver truly targeted ads via its contextual search engine,” Bajarin writes. “But there were two catches. For targeted ads to be effective, advertisers needed to know what a person liked in order to display relevant ads they were likely to click… The second catch comes from the push by advertisers to make sure Google, Facebook, and others don’t stop tracking people. Their user agreements say, in essence, ‘If you use our product for free, you agree to see ads, which supports this free service.'”

“Thanks to the Cambridge Analytic flap at Facebook, ad-supported services are under considerable scrutiny and have a lot to lose. More importantly, they must gain the trust of their users if they want to remain important companies in the future,” Bajarin writes. “The bottom line is that advertising has been at the heart of all kinds of businesses for over a century and is not going away. I expect to see both Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg ramp up their public positions on the virtues of each business model, though Zuckerberg will probably face the most public scrutiny.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Both models have their positives and negatives. Ad-supported services can reach more people, since they’re free or very low cost to the user, but the user sacrifices privacy and data. Paid services have limits to how many people they can reach as not every person can afford and/or wants to pay.

It seems to us that companies that do both would be most successful. Imagine Apple Music with a “free” ad-supported tier or Facebook with a paid tier that doesn’t use subscribers’ data (and somehow proves to the user that they don’t).


  1. No thanks to Apple Music that is ad supported, this is a step backwards. Like Amazon Prime, people should pay to get great service. This ads support is very cheap and is for rock bottom people, especially andriod users.

  2. MDN suggests that the choice is a binary one between paid services without advertisements and ad-supported services where user’s privacy is compromised.

    There are also a whole range of in-between options where users do not have their privacy compromised, but services are free or subsidised by advertising which is not so highly targeted.

    One thing which the internet has highlighted is the massive difference between American acceptance of advertising and European acceptance of advertising.

    Generally speaking, in Europe, advertising is less intrusive and more subtle, while Americans are accustomed to in-yoiur-face advertising everywhere. The internet brought American styles of intrusive advertising to people who bristle at such things and there are a lot of web sites which people like me avoid because they are are so unpleasant to use. It came as no surprise to see the European Parliament pioneering regulations to curb the excesses of the on-line advertising industry ( which predated the Cambridge Analytics scandal ) . Nobody would expect America to lead the way in regulating the over-reach of advertisers and their agents.

    1. “advertising which is not so highly targeted.”

      That’s what I am talking about below. I, too, have those sites I can’t stand to visit. I also have those where the advertising is right on point – specific to the website I’m visiting, and I appreciate it there. Not specific to me and what I was shopping for last weekend at a different website.

  3. Ad-supported doesn’t have to sacrifice security and personal data. In the early days of the web, folks were “scared” of cookies, because of the info they shared. But the fact of the matter is that they were a good way of targeting without your personal data being spread to the masses – your preferences were known, but stored only on your own computer. When you accessed a website, it knew what to push to you based on cookies for that website, not based on everything you do across every related service (and that relationship is ridiculous today) because they have all of that info stored on you and your habits.

    Ah, for the good ol’ days of just common site-specific cookies again.

  4. Zuckerberg and Facebook will win in the end. Most of the world doesn’t care about privacy because most people have nothing worthwhile to hide. It’s freebies they want. The ad business is highly profitable so that business model will have the most backing from Wall Street. Apple ends up the biggest loser because they’ll never be as profitable as Facebook. Ask most big investors which company they’ll back and it will definitely be Facebook. Facebook was barely touched by the data breach scandal. The stock recovered so quickly it was as though absolutely nothing happened. Zuckerberg baffled Capitol Hill with BS and walked away unscathed.

    Apple will never get any praise for protecting personal data because it’s just not that important to 98% of the population. Facebook and Google are openly snatching personal data like crazy and consumers happily use their free services on a daily basis. Those companies will never see any Federal regulation because those companies are most likely handing all that data over to intelligence agencies.

    The Feds are going to target Apple because of Apple’s heavily encrypted iOS devices. They believe Apple should give them a key to snoop on whomever they want. The government doesn’t really want privacy at all and Apple is being labeled as the bad guy for protecting criminals and terrorists. Tim Cook is backing the wrong side as far as Wall Street is concerned. The Feds truly hate Tim Cook’s privacy stance because they believe no human on Earth should have an electronic/digital wall to hide behind.

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