Apple and Facebook: Maybe Regular Governmental Regulations Do Not Work for These Outfits?

April 26, 2021

I read “How Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook Became Foes.” The dust up is about user tracking. It is not explicitly about making money, acting in a manner which helps customers, or conforms to the expectations of some people. The NYT article is interesting, but it ignored a point I think is important. I will get to what is in my opinion an important omission in a moment.

First, the write up states:

At the center of the fight are the two C.E.O.s. Their differences have long been evident. Mr. Cook, 60, is a polished executive who rose through Apple’s ranks by constructing efficient supply chains. Mr. Zuckerberg, 36, is a Harvard dropout who built a social-media empire with an anything-goes stance toward free speech.

Then some history:

Mr. Cook decided to distance Apple from Facebook, the people said. While Mr. Cook had raised privacy as an issue as early as 2015, he ramped that up in 2018. Apple also unveiled a new corporate motto: “Privacy is a fundamental human right.”

And allegedly Mr. Zuckerberg’s current position:

But Mr. Zuckerberg has also been blunt about Facebook’s feelings on Apple. “We increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors,” he said in an earnings call this year.

No problem but the omission is that the antics of two monopolies are no longer amusing. The US government as well as organizations like the EU have been unable to constrain either firm. This is a failure for three reasons:

  1. These are monopolies and the jousting is simply an effort to allow one company to win.
  2. Neither company cares about customers. Facebook sucks data and enables a Cambridge Analytica thought process and Apple makes it impossible for “customers” to have confidence that their purchases are theirs or that their devices can be fixed. Both approaches are anti-consumer.
  3. Both companies manipulate to thrive. Both use Orwellian type lingo to further the illusion that these firms are more than money generating constructs operating with personal antipathies, biases, and as supra-governments.

Quite an omission if my hypotheses are on the money.

Stephen E Arnold, April 26, 2021


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