At its heart, the legal battle between Apple and ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games is about whether or not the iPhone is a computer

Fortnite 1984 Apple ad parody
  • Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are fighting in court over how the App Store works.
  • The three-week trial began wrapping up on Friday, with Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand.
  • At the heart of the fight is a fundamental disagreement on whether or not the iPhone is a computer.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are nearing the end of a protracted legal battle that could have major implications for the future of the App Store.

If Epic were to win the trial, Apple could be forced to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone and iPad – a result that could cost Apple billions of dollars in the long term.

At the heart of the fight is a disagreement on the nature of the iPhone: Epic argues it’s a computer, while Apple argues it’s fundamentally distinct. That argument is critical because of how the App Store operates, with Apple acting as the sole arbiter of what can and cannot be published on the iPhone.

If the iPhone is a computer, then the App Store is a monopoly, Epic’s lawyers argued. If it isn’t, and it’s a distinct category of device, then Apple says it is protecting its users by keeping alternative digital storefronts off the iPhone.

Read more: Big Tech has a new battleground: self-driving cars. Here’s how Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, and Sundar Pichai hope to capture the $290 billion market.

“Epic is here, demanding that this court force Apple to let into its App Store untested and untrusted apps and app stores,” one of Apple’s lawyers, Karen Dunn, said in opening remarks. “Apple’s unwavering commitment to safety, security, reliability and quality does not allow that – and the antitrust laws do not require it.”

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Both Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right, will appear as witnesses during the trial.

On the contrary, Epic’s lawyer argued, the “walled garden” of the App Store isn’t intended for security: “It’s about business,” Katherine Forrest of law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore said. An expert witness interviewed by Forrest estimated Apple’s App Store margins in 2018 and 2019 to be around 75%.

Another major point of contention between the two companies: the 30% cut Apple takes from transactions on its App Store.

By refusing to open the iPhone to other app stores, Epic’s lawyers argued, the company is engaging in anticompetitive behavior. They compared Apple to a car dealership that takes a cut from gas stations every time you refuel.

Apple’s lawyers pointed to other digital storefronts, like the wildly popular Steam, as having established the 30% precedent.

“Apple did not establish the 30%,” Apple’s lawyer Karen Dunn said. “It was Steam, another game platform, that set the 30% in 2003, and by the time Apple entered the market in 2008 the 30% was, as Epic’s internal documents will show, industry standard.”

With Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand on Friday, witness testimonies are officially wrapped up. Lawyers for both companies are expected to deliver closing remarks on Monday.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Business leaders like Snap’s Evan Spiegel and Barry Diller are conflicted about the App Store as Tim Cook takes the stand

Evan Spiegel
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

  • Barry Diller said Apple overcharges “in a disgusting manner” on its App Store.
  • Spiegel said Snap is “happy” to pay the 30% fee and said the firm wouldn’t exist without Apple.
  • The comments come as Apple defends itself in a trial that focuses on if its App Store is a monopoly.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Business figures are split on Apple as CEO Tim Cook testifies in an antitrust trial focused on the App Store.

In separate interviews with CNBC on Friday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Expedia Chairman Barry Diller came out swinging for and against, respectively, Apple as Cook took the stand.

Diller criticized Apple for using its “quasi-monopoly” to overcharge companies like his in “a disgusting manner” through its App Store commissions. The company requires developers to pay a 30% fee on purchases made in the marketplace, and many have long seen the practice as a way for Apple to obtain an unfair advantage in the market.

“The idea that they actually justify it by saying, ‘We spend all this money protecting our little App Store,'” Diller told CNBC. “I mean, it’s criminal. Well, it will be criminal.”

Spiegel later spoke with the outlet and said Snap is “happy” to pay the 30% commission fee on in-app purchases.

“We really feel like Snapchat wouldn’t exist without the iPhone and without the amazing platform that Apple has created,” Spiegel said. “In that sense, I’m not sure we have a choice about paying the 30% fee, and of course, we’re happy to do it in exchange for all of the amazing technology that they provide to us in terms of the software but also in terms of their hardware advancements.”

Snap and Expedia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read more: The App Store is Apple’s most valuable asset, but also its biggest liability

Cook’s Friday appearance on the stand comes as part of a trial that began earlier this month in California, prompted by a conflict between Apple and “Fortnite” creator Epic Games last summer.

Apple pulled the wildly popular “Fortnite” from its App Store in 2020 after Epic skirted the company’s rules and fees to add its own in-app payment system. Epic has argued that Apple’s App Store is a monopoly, while Apple says Epic simply broke the rules that govern its developers.

The trial is expected to conclude on Monday, and its results could majorly impact Apple’s business.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parler is back on the App Store with a ‘PG’ version that only cracks down on hate speech on Apple devices

Parler
This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background.

  • Parler returned to the App Store on Monday after it had been kicked off in January.
  • On Apple devices any posts that are identified as hate speech will not be visible.
  • The company’s chief policy officer said it will be like a “PG” version of Parler.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Parler returned to Apple’s App Store on Monday after it had been kicked off following the January 6 Capitol Siege.

Apple announced last month that it had approved several changes to the app related to hate speech. Upon its return, Parler will look different – at least on Apple devices. While the Parler website allows any legal content to be viewed, the App Store version includes “enhanced threat-and-incitement reporting tools,” according to the listing on the App Store.

That means that posts identified as participating in hate speech will be removed from Apple devices, while the same posts labeled as “hate” will still be visible on Parler’s website.

Parler’s interim CEO Mark Meckler told Insider in a statement that the site worked to meet Apple’s standards, while maintaining its focus on free speech.

“The entire Parler team has worked hard to address Apple’s concerns without compromising our core mission,” Meckler said. “Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions. This is a win-win for Parler, its users, and free speech.”

Parler’s chief policy officer, Amy Peikoff, told The Washington Post that the company is pressing Apple to allow the content to remain on the app, but with a warning label. Apple had listed banning the content as one of its conditions for allowing the application back on its store.

Peikoff told The Washington Post the milder version of Parler that is on Apple devices could be called “Parler Lite or Parler PG.”

“Where Parler is different [from Apple], is where content is legal, we prefer to put the tools in the hands of users to decide what ends up in their feeds,” she said.

In the past, the social-media app has avoided censoring its content, identifying itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter. The app tried to return to Apple devices in February but was blocked by the company. Apple cited several examples of hate speech, including Nazi symbols, in its decision to not allow the app to return.

Parler was removed from the App Store in January – at the time it was the most downloaded app on the store – after numerous Capitol rioters used the site to organize the insurrection at the Capitol. Following the Capitol insurrection, other web providers including Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services banned Parler.

Parler’s website was restored when SkySilk began hosting it in February, but it has yet to return to the Google Play store. Apple and Google spokespeople were not immediately available to comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple and Epic Games are revealing a ton of industry secrets in court filings – from untold billions in ‘Fortnite’ profits to private email exchanges, these are the 5 juiciest bits

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right.

  • “Fortnite” maker Epic Games is suing Apple, and the bench trial started this week in California.
  • Epic says Apple’s App Store is a monopoly. Apple says Epic broke its developer contract.
  • Through court filings, major secrets from Apple, Epic, Microsoft, and more have been revealed.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and the maker of “Fortnite” are currently at war in a California courtroom – the culmination of a yearlong spat between the two American business giants.

Epic Games filed suit against Apple last summer after its hit game, “Fortnite,” was pulled from Apple’s App Store.

Apple says it pulled the game because Epic violated the terms of its developer agreement when Epic implemented a payment system in the game that enabled players to circumvent Apple’s App Store. Epic says the App Store is a monopoly, and argues that iPhones and iPads are no different from computers.

The in-person trial began Monday at the US District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, California. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is scheduled to oversee approximately three weeks of hearings before a verdict is rendered, according to court filings.

After just one week, we’ve already learned a lot: Between major financial disclosures, company secrets, and private emails between executives made public, evidence in the trial is a treasure trove of information.

1. Xbox console sales aren’t profitable, according to Microsoft, and they never have been.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series X, left, and the Xbox Series S, right.

After nearly two decades of sales, Xbox consoles have never been a profitable product for Microsoft.

The Washington-based tech giant sells every Xbox at a loss, according to sworn testimony from Microsoft’s VP of Xbox business development Lori Wright.

“Has Microsoft ever earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox console?” she was asked on Wednesday, May 5. “No,” she said.

Wright appeared as a witness in the ongoing trial, where she answered a variety of questions about Microsoft, Xbox, and digital storefronts. Microsoft has openly supported Epic’s suit against Apple.

The subject of Xbox profitability came up in questioning because of how Microsoft’s console business works: Instead of making money on the console itself, the company makes money from games sales through its digital storefront, from subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, and from sales of accessories like gamepads.

Microsoft, like other console makers, takes a cut of every sale on its digital storefront. That cut is usually about 30%, which has become a standard in the video game distribution market. Apple takes a similar cut from games sold on its iOS App Store, which is part of what Epic is contesting in its court case against Apple.

2. Apple’s reportedly making huge margins on the App Store.

Tim Cook WWDC 2020
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

One of Epic’s expert witnesses, Berkeley Research Group managing director Ned Barnes, said that Apple is enjoying enormous margins on the App Store: In the high 70s for the last two years at least, according to Barnes.

“In my expert report dated February 16, 2021,” Barnes writes, “using Apple testimony and financial information available to me at that time, I calculated the App Store’s operating margin percentage to be 79.6% for each of FY2019 and FY2018.”

He also said that Apple “produced additional documents” for the trial that demonstrate slightly lower percentages for the two years, but that the numbers are “consistent with and confirm the reasonableness of the calculations presented in my expert report.”

Apple, however, disputes Barnes’ report. “Epic’s experts calculations of the operating margins for the App Store are simply wrong,” an Apple representative told The Verge.

Core to Epic’s argument in the trial is that Apple operates a monopoly with the App Store by refusing to allow competing app stores on the iOS platform, in addition to not allowing third-party payment systems. High profit margins from the App Store, Epic argued, is part of the reason for Apple won’t allow either.

3. “Fortnite” is making Epic billions of dollars every year, especially on the PlayStation 4.

Fortnite (loot chest)

In one of the less surprising secrets unearthed from evidence presented during the trial, “Fortnite” is making a huge amount of money – to the tune of several billion dollars every year for the last several years.

In 2020 alone, Epic made over $5 billion in revenue according to sworn testimony from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. Between 2018 and 2019, “Fortnite” brought in over $9 billion.

Epic makes more than “Fortnite” – the gaming giant produces the Unreal Engine, operates the Epic Games Store, and owns and publishes several other big games (“Rocket League” and “Fall Guys”). Data from Epic presented during the trial shows that those projects, while moneymakers in the hundreds of millions, don’t generate anywhere near as much revenue as “Fortnite.”

4. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a 2 a.m. email declaring war.

tim sweeney epic games fortnite
Epic Games cofounder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

At 2 a.m. PT on August 13, 2020, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives that laid out Epic’s plan to cut Apple out of payments in “Fortnite” on iPhone and iPad.

It was intended as a declaration of war.

“I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Sweeney wrote. “Today, Epic is launching Epic direct payments in ‘Fortnite’ on iOS, offering customers the choice of paying in-app through Epic direct payments or through Apple payments, and passing on the savings of Epic direct payments to customers in the form of lower prices.”

In response, Apple pulled “Fortnite” from its iPhone and iPad store, and the game has been unplayable on both ever since. Epic sued Apple on the same day, and this email was one of many private messages between the companies that was uncovered as evidence.

5. “Fortnite” was such a big deal on the PlayStation 4 that Epic was able to force Sony to overturn a longstanding precedent in gaming.

Fortnite

In September 2018, after months spent fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion, Sony gave in: “Fortnite,” the company announced, would be playable on the PlayStation 4 with friends on other platforms.

“Fortnite” was the first-ever game to allow players on all platforms to play together. “This represents a major policy change for Sony Interactive Entertainment,” Sony said in its announcement. It was clear at the time that, with the game playable across all other platforms, Sony was almost certain to give in: Tens of millions of people were playing “Fortnite,” and they were earning the most from players on Sony’s PlayStation 4, according to documents from Epic presented as evidence in the trial.

Between January 2019 and July 2020, just before “Fortnite” was removed from the App Store, Epic was earning just shy of $150 million each month on average from PlayStation players, according to Epic. By comparison, the company was earning about $23 million per month on average from iOS players, Epic said.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The EU accused Apple of breaking antitrust laws with its App Store rules

Margrethe Vestager Tim Cook
The European Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager (left) and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • The EU’s antitrust chief accused Apple of breaching competition law with its App Store rules.
  • The accusation centers around music streaming apps, and the investigation was prompted by a complaint from Spotify.
  • Apple takes a commission on in-app payments while simultaneously competing with them through Apple Music.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The EU has accused Apple of breaking European antitrust law.

The European Commission, in a preliminary finding, said Apple illegally disadvantaged music-streaming developers it competes with on two fronts: By charging commission on in-app payments, and by blocking them from showcasing alternative ways to subscribe outside the App Store.

If Apple is found guilty, regulators could hit it with a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue or order the company to change its business practices, though the case is likely to take many years working its way through the courts. Apple recorded revenue of $274 billion for its 2020 financial year.

“Our preliminary finding is that Apple is a gatekeeper to users of iPhones and iPads via the App Store,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“With Apple Music, Apple also competes with music streaming providers. By setting strict rules on the App store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition.

“This is done by charging high commission fees on each transaction in the App store for rivals and by forbidding them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options.”

The case is the result of an investigation first launched by the European Commission in June 2020, which was prompted by music-streaming giant Spotify lodging an official complaint against Apple in March 2019.

To place an app on the App Store, developers must agree to use Apple’s payment system for in-app purchases, which automatically takes a 15% to 30% levy.

Spotify’s complaint was that by forcing developers to pay a commission on in-app payments, (e.g. a Spotify subscription) Apple artificially inflates prices, while simultaneously competing with Spotify through Apple Music.

Vestager indicated during a news conference on Friday that, if Apple is eventually found guilty of breaking competition law, it could pave the way for consumers or rivals to bring private cases.

“If there is a decision that there has been a breach of European Commission competition law, then there is access to seek for private damages if one feels one has been damaged by the behavior of the company in question,” she said.

Spotify and Apple respond to the EU

Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer, Horacio Gutierrez, said in a statement to Insider: “Ensuring the iOS platform operates fairly is an urgent task with far-reaching implications.

“The European Commission’s Statement of Objections is a critical step toward holding Apple accountable for its anticompetitive behavior, ensuring meaningful choice for all consumers and a level playing field for app developers,”

An Apple spokesperson responded to the Commission’s finding: “Spotify has become the largest music subscription service in the world, and we’re proud for the role we played in that. Spotify does not pay Apple any commission on over 99% of their subscribers, and only pays a 15% commission on those remaining subscribers that they acquired through the App Store.

“At the core of this case is Spotify’s demand they should be able to advertise alternative deals on their iOS app, a practice that no store in the world allows. Once again, they want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they should have to pay anything for that. The Commission’s argument on Spotify’s behalf is the opposite of fair competition.”

Although this preliminary finding focuses on music-streaming apps, it could have much broader implications for Apple. Other major developers have accused Apple of monopoly abuse with its in-app purchase tax, and the tech giant is due to appear in court next week alongside “Fortnite” maker Epic Games.

Vestager has a history of hitting US tech giants with big antitrust fines. In 2018 she imposed a record-breaking $5 billion fine on Google after accusing it of abusing the dominance of its Android platform.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple finally rolled out the privacy feature Facebook has been protesting for months. It’s the latest skirmish in an ongoing rivalry between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook.

Tim Cook Mark Zuckerberg
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been adversaries for years.
  • They’ve traded barbs over how expensive Apple products are and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • Recently, Facebook has been fighting back against Apple’s new privacy feature.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The long-standing feud between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook appears to be raging on.

The two tech titans have been feuding since at least 2014, trading barbs over each other’s products and business models. But in recent months, their battle has escalated to public jabs, pointed ad campaigns, and even a possible legal dispute: The Information reported in January that Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, alleging that Apple put a choke-hold on third-party app developers.

Now, Apple has released iOS 14.5, a software update that allows iPhone users to opt out of app tracking – which could mean bad news for a major part of Facebook’s business.

Read more: As Apple tightens the screws on ad tracking, it’s preparing a new ad format of its own. People briefed on the plans reveal its pricing model and targeting options.

Here’s when the rivalry began, and everything that’s happened since.

The feud between Zuckerberg and Cook became public in 2014, when Cook lambasted Facebook’s business model.

Tim Cook

In September 2014, Cook gave an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose that touched on a range of topics, including privacy.

During the interview — which took place in the weeks following the infamous leaks of multiple female celebrities’ nude photos stored on their iCloud accounts — Cook espoused Apple’s commitment to privacy while denouncing the business models of companies like Google and Facebook. 

“I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money,” Cook said. “And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried. And you should really understand what’s happening to that data.”  

Shortly after, Cook reiterated his stance in an open letter on Apple’s dedicated privacy site. 

“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product,” Cook wrote. 

Cook’s comments rankled Zuckerberg, who called the claims “ridiculous” and blasted Apple products as being expensive.

mark zuckerberg 2010

In an interview with Time later that year, Zuckerberg was reportedly visibly irritated by Cook’s assertions. 

“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 told Time’s Lev Grossman. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. 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!”

Their squabble came to a head following the Cambridge Analytica scandal when Cook criticized Facebook’s actions.

Tim Cook

In 2018, a whistleblower revealed that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested user data without consent from 50 million users. 

During an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the months following, Cook was asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s shoes

Cook responded: “What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Cook said that Facebook should have regulated itself when it came to user data, but that “I think we’re beyond that here.” He also doubled down on his stance that Facebook considers its users its product. 

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

Zuckerberg hit back, calling Cook’s comments “extremely glib.”

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

“You know, I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth,” Zuckerberg said during an interview on The Ezra Klein Show podcast.

He refuted the idea that Facebook isn’t focused on serving people and once again criticized the premium Apple places on its products. 

“I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you,” he said. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

Privately, Zuckerberg was reportedly outraged by Cook’s remarks – so much so that he ordered his employees to switch to Android devices.

Mark Zuckerberg security phone

In November 2018, The New York Times published a blockbuster report detailing the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Times reported that Cook’s comments had “infuriated” Zuckerberg, who ordered employees on his management team who used iPhones to switch to Android. 

Soon after the report published, Facebook wrote a blog post refuting some of the reporting by The Times — but not the Zuckerberg-Cook feud. 

“Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook wrote. “And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.”

In 2019, Zuckerberg and Cook had a meeting at the annual Sun Valley retreat in Idaho that went poorly, according to The New York Times.

tim cook apple mark zuckerberg facebook

According to The Times, Zuckerberg asked Cook for his advice following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Cook told Zuckerberg Facebook should delete the user data his company collects from outside of its family of apps, which “stunned” Zuckerberg and was akin to Cook saying Facebook’s business was “untenable,” The Times reported.

In August 2020, Zuckerberg jumped in the fray as Apple faced criticism over its App Store policies.

mark zuckerberg

During a company-wide meeting, Zuckerberg openly criticized Apple, saying it has a “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” according to a report from BuzzFeed News

Zuckerberg also said that the App Store blocks innovation and competition and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents,” BuzzFeed reported. 

Apple has been facing antitrust scrutiny from Congress and has been strongly criticized by developers — most notably “Fortnite” creator Epic Games — for the 30% fee it takes from App Store purchases. Apple recently blocked an update to Facebook’s iOS app that would have informed users about the fee Apple charges.

Apple’s latest software update has been angering Facebook since it was announced, as Facebook says the new privacy features could destroy part of its business.

WWDC 2020

In the latest version if Apple’s smartphone operating system, iOS, iPhone app developers will need to ask permission from users in order to collect and track their data. While this will affect any company who makes iOS apps, it will have a direct impact on Facebook’s advertising business: It uses data tracking to dictate which ads are served to users. 

In an August blog post, Facebook said it may be forced to shut down Audience Network for iOS, a tool that personalizes ads in third-party apps. 

“This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision,” Facebook said. 

The complaints from Facebook and other developers led Apple to delay the new privacy tools until next year, saying it wanted to “give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes.”

Most recently, Facebook escalated the feud to a full-page ad in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

In the new ads, Facebook is arguing that the changes will hurt small businesses who advertise on Facebook’s platform.

“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” the ad reads, which was posted by Twitter user Dave Stangis. 

Apple hit back, telling Business Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton that it was “standing up for our users.” 

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Facebook said it would help Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” in its legal battle with Apple.

tim cook fortnite epic games apple
A parody of Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, which appeared in a video streamed in “Fortnite.”

Epic Games is heading to trial with Apple next year over its suit claiming that Apple’s engages in anti-competitive behavior.

While Facebook isn’t joining the lawsuit, it is planning to help Epic with discovery for the trial. 

And Facebook is reportedly working on a lawsuit of its own that alleges Apple has abused its power in the app marketplace.

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on Oct. 23, 2019.

According to a report from The Information, Facebook is preparing a lawsuit claiming that Apple has forced app developers to follow a different set of rules than Apple-made apps, such as requiring developers to use an in-app payments system, of which Apple takes a cut.  

Facebook has reportedly been working on the case for several months and has considered inviting other companies to join the suit. 

Zuckerberg also lashed out at Apple during Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call, saying the company frequently interferes with how Facebook’s apps work.

Mark Zuckerberg

When discussing Facebook’s suite of messaging apps during the conference call, Zuckerberg made a clear dig at Apple, saying the iPhone-maker made “misleading” privacy claims. 

“Now Apple recently released so-called nutrition labels, which focused largely on metadata that apps collect rather than the privacy and security of people’s actual messages, but iMessage stores non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default unless you disable iCloud,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg went on to describe Apple as “one of our biggest competitors” and said that because Apple is increasingly relying on services to fuel its business, it “has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own.”

“This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world,” he added.

But Cook hasn’t backed down from his view that Facebook’s business model of harvesting user data and selling it to advertisers is harmful to consumers.

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

During a speech at the European Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, Cook discussed business models that prioritize user engagement and rely on user data to make money. Though he didn’t mention Facebook by name, Cook made several references that alluded to the platform.

“At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement — the longer the better — and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible,” Cook said.

Facebook has launched another ad campaign aimed at proving the need for personalized advertising amid its ongoing battle with Apple.

Mark Zuckerberg

The initiative, titled “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found,” makes the case that personalized ads help Facebook users discover small businesses, particularly during the pandemic. 

“Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalized ads is a game changer for small businesses,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the theme. “Limiting the use of personalized ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses.”

The new campaign is Facebook’s latest effort to highlight the value of personalized ads ahead of Apple’s privacy crackdown — the new feature is expected to roll out this spring, and Facebook warned during its most recent earnings that it could begin affecting its business as early as the first quarter of 2021.

Cook called Facebook’s objections to the privacy update “flimsy arguments” during an interview with The New York Times.

Tim Cook

During a podcast interview with The Times’ Kara Swisher, Cook said that he believes society is in a privacy crisis and that he’s been “shocked” that there’s been pushback to the new feature to this degree. 

“We know these things are flimsy arguments,” Cook told The Times. “I think that you can do digital advertising and make money from digital advertising without tracking people when they don’t know they’re being tracked.”

Cook also said he doesn’t view Facebook as a competitor, contrary to what Zuckerberg has said.

“Oh, I think that we compete in some things,” Cook said. “But no, if I may ask who our biggest competitor are, they would not be listed. We’re not in the social networking business.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Can an iPhone be hacked? A breakdown of common hacks and cyber hygiene best practices

person looking at phone kitchen counter
To avoid being hacked, make sure you stay away from suspicious links and spam messages.

  • Your iPhone can be hacked in various ways, although iPhones are safer than Androids.
  • Experts say the best way to stay safe from hacks is to be vigilant of strange links or sketchy apps and to only give out information when necessary.
  • Poor battery life and sluggish performance can be indicators of an iPhone hack.
  • You might need to restore your iPhone to factory settings or get a replacement if it’s been seriously hacked.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

iPhone hacks aren’t incredibly common, but they can still occur if you aren’t careful.

From malware and trickster apps downloaded from the App Store to targeted attacks on a specific device, your information can be stolen in myriad ways.

Here we’ll break down the common types of hacks, how to tell if you’ve been hacked, and what to do about it.

How an iPhone can be hacked

Hacking occurs when someone else gains access to private information on your device or controls it without your consent. It’s a broad term, and lies on a gradient of bad to very serious. Some hackers want to make a quick buck selling advertising. Others want to hurt you.

Experts said there are a few main types of iPhone hacks:

Suspicious websites or links

Just like on your computer, your iPhone can be hacked by clicking on a suspicious website or link. If a website looks or feels “off” check the logos, the spelling, or the URL.

Try to avoid connecting to a password-free public Wi-Fi network, which opens the possibility of a hacker accessing unencrypted traffic on your device or redirecting you to a fraudulent site to access login credentials.

Messages from numbers you don’t recognize are also suspect.

Fortunately, modern smartphones are good at resisting malware and ransomware.

Suspicious apps on the App Store

Apple devices exist in a much more closed and monitored digital ecosystem when compared to Android devices.

The company has a vetting process for apps on its store, but it’s not bulletproof.

Ning Zhang, who leads the Computer Security and Privacy Laboratory at Washington University in Saint Louis, said to watch out for apps that ask for more information than they’ll need to function.

For example, if you’ve downloaded a wallpaper or flashlight app and it’s asking for your location or contact list, camera, or microphone, that’s a red flag. Likely, the developers are tricking you into giving out this information so it can be sold.

“I’d be a little bit skeptical about it and consider if I really want that wallpaper app,” he said. “Being vigilant, even with official apps, is helpful. If we are able to do that, I think for the average person, you should be fairly safe.”

app
It’s important to keep track of even the official apps on your phone and to check for any suspiciously downloaded apps, as well.

Intimate partner hacks

Abusive partners can grab your phone and download spyware (or stalkerware) when you’re not looking. This malicious software can be used to track your location, or make private information like texts, your call history, and emails accessible to them.

All they need is your password and physical access to your phone. Experts we spoke to said that this is unfortunately common. This abuse can be psychologically traumatizing and devastating to someone’s personal and public life. If you notice apps that you don’t remember downloading, this could be a sign – although many times the spyware app is invisible on the home screen.

Sadly, this problem isn’t easy to fix. Victims can risk their safety by deleting the apps or checking for malware if and when abusers notice these actions.

Targeted attacks

The average person probably won’t be singled out and remotely targeted by hackers because it’s expensive, sometimes costing millions for hacks of newer phones, said Matthew Green, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Internet Security Institute.

Journalists and activists are most at risk for this kind of hack.

One form of a targetted hack works like this: Hackers exploit unknown flaws in the iOS programming that even its developers don’t yet know about. With this knowledge, hackers can install malware to get data from targetted sources.

“This is a very sophisticated set of hacks and oftentimes you won’t even know this happened to you,” Green said. “If it’s someone who is really sophisticated, they’ll send you an invisible text message and then your phone is going to be compromised for awhile.”

The bugs are known as “zero-day” exploits, corresponding with the fact that Apple will find out about a possible security issue in their software on the same day it’ll work to patch it. The minute the world knows, it’s only a matter of time before the hack is obsolete. That’s why these pricey hacks are often kept under wraps by the people, or governments, who purchase them, Green said.

Ways to protect yourself from an iPhone hack

iPhones can absolutely be hacked, but they’re safer than most Android phones.

Some budget Android smartphones may never receive an update, whereas Apple supports older iPhone models with software updates for years, maintaining their security. That’s why it’s important to update your iPhone.

Apps on the App Store are also vetted for malware (though there are questionable apps that go unnoticed).

However, if you’re considering “jailbreaking” your iPhone – removing the software restrictions imposed on iOS – you’re opening yourself up to potential vulnerabilities in the software because you’ve eliminated some of Apple’s existing security measures. It is possible to download incompatible spyware or malware apps on a jailbroken phone, and this is also how remote takeovers can occur with iPhones. A jailbroken phone should be avoided as it can dangerously allow malicious apps to go undetected.

If you backup your phone in iCloud, make sure to have a strong password. If someone gets ahold of your password, they don’t even need to hack your phone because they can download a backup from the cloud.

Cloud Storage
Hackers can access your information by downloading a backup from the cloud, which eliminates the need to jailbreak or get access to your phone.

Turning on Apple’s two factor authentication is another good way to stay safe and can prevent your iCloud account (Apple ID) from being hacked by requiring another step of verification.

Vyas Sekar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said staying safe is all about “good digital hygiene.”

“Install apps from trustworthy sources and unless you know what you’re doing, you probably don’t want to jailbreak your phone,” Sekar said. “Be careful. Don’t click on attachments you don’t want to open and keep your phone up to date.”

How to tell if your iPhone has been hacked

You can’t always tell if your iPhone has been hacked, Sekar said. But you may notice a few things.

  • Your phone is unusually hot, or frequently dying.
  • Your phone is sluggish when trying to load websites.
  • The battery is draining even when you’re not touching your phone.

These symptoms indicate the phone is running all the time, even when you’re not using it. Sometimes, the best indicators come from the outside, such as when friends say they’re getting odd messages from you. However, the most sophisticated hacks can be somewhat invisible.

There’s no definite way to check for every type of hack. Experts told us that one reliable way to investigate is to download a mobile security app called iVerify, which scans your phone’s operating system for suspicious behavior and can also detect if your phone has been jailbroken.

What to do when your iPhone has been hacked

If you know your phone has been hacked, you have a few options depending on what happened.

For minor problems, like an app stealing your information, delete the app and update your software.

In serious cases, you’ll want to wipe your iPhone and restore it to factory settings. But even if you do that, it may note be completely clear if you’ve gotten rid of the malware installed on your phone – especially if it has been jailbroken.

Man iphone
If you suspect your phone has been hacked, sometimes the safest bet is to get a new phone, depending on the severity of the breach.

Finding an expert for inspection may be the best solution. Green from Johns Hopkins said your phone can’t always be cured.

“I hate to say this, but if you really, really need to be safe, get a new phone,” Green said. “If somebody actually gets on your phone, and it’s a really high barrier for iPhones, they can install stuff like keyloggers, which means every key press, every letter you type in is being sent to somebody. Until you’re sure that’s gone, you can’t be sure you have any privacy.”

If you can’t get a new phone right away, a hacked iPhone is likely not safe to use, so you’re best to leave it turned off.

How to factory reset your iPhone and wipe its data, whether you’re selling it or troubleshooting issuesWhat is cybersecurity? A guide to the methods used to protect computer systems and dataWhat is malware? Everything you need to know about malicious software and viruses, and how to protect your computerHow to diagnose and remove any virus from your iPhone

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple is reportedly refusing to testify at an upcoming congressional antitrust hearing as its App Store remains at the center of scrutiny

apple tim cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook speak to the press during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility, with US President Donald Trump, where Apple’s Mac Pros are assembled in Austin, Texas, on November 20, 2019.

  • US senators wrote a letter to CEO Tim Cook calling Apple’s absence at an upcoming hearing “unacceptable.”
  • The hearing will discuss concerns of anticompetitive behavior surrounding Apple and Google’s app stores.
  • Google, per Reuters, has agreed to testify at the April hearing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple is refusing to testify at an April hearing about antitrust concerns, Reuters first reported on Friday.

The hearing will discuss Apple and Google’s app store policies and allegations of anticompetitive behavior.

Both companies take a 30% cut from in-app purchases, according to their policies. Developers have long taken issue with the practice since they claim that the 30% fee gives Apple an unfair advantage in the market, as its own apps are exempt from paying the fee.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Arizona wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, imploring that the company consider attending the hearing. A spokesperson with Klobuchar’s office shared the letter with Insider.

“A little more than two weeks before the planned hearing, Apple abruptly declared that it would not provide any witness,” the letter reads. “Apple’s sudden change in course to refuse to provide a witness to testify … is unacceptable.”

Klobuchar’s team, according to Reuters, said Google has agreed to testify at the hearing. The hearing was planned for later this month but does not yet have a date set in stone, per the outlet.

Apple and Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Tech’s biggest execs have become familiar with congressional hearings in the past year as scrutiny of the industry has increased and bipartisan support for regulation grows. The hearings typically include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple and/or Twitter.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Twitter helmer Jack Dorsey testified at a congressional misinformation hearing in late March. The hearing was scheduled to discuss how misinformation, specifically that related to the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election, spreads on these online platforms. The hearing oftentimes devolved into political theatre, as has been typical with these sorts of proceedings.

Apple will appear in a federal trial in May to fight game giant Epic Games after their brawl kicked off last August. Epic, the owner of the popular “Fortnite” game, introduced its own payment service into the app, skirting Apple’s 30% cut from in-app purchases. In response, Apple and Google kicked Epic off its app stores, preventing customers from accessing “Fortnite.” Epic sued both companies shortly after.

You can read the letter in full below.

Dear Mr. Cook:

We write regarding Apple Inc.’s refusal to provide a witness to testify in a timely manner before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights at a hearing to examine the competition issues raised by app stores.

More than half of internet traffic comes through mobile phones, whose users rely on mobile applications to access online content and services-and the vast majority of mobile apps are downloaded from either Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. Apple’s power over the cost, distribution, and availability of mobile applications on the Apple devices used by millions of consumers raises serious competition issues that are of interest to the Subcommittee, consumers, and app developers. A full and fair examination of these issues before the Subcommittee requires Apple’s participation.

Apple has been aware for weeks that the Subcommittee was planning a hearing on this topic and was engaged in discussions with our staff regarding who would testify on Apple’s behalf. Yet a little more than two weeks [16 days] before the planned hearing, Apple abruptly declared that it would not provide any witness to testify at a hearing in April.

Earlier this year, Apple provided witnesses to testify before the North Dakota Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives to oppose state bills that would regulate the very same conduct that the Subcommittee intends to explore. You testified before the House Antitrust Subcommittee regarding these same issues last year. And on the exact day Apple informed the Subcommittee that it would not provide a witness for an April hearing, the New York Times released a podcast interview in which you discuss competition issues relating to Apple’s App Store, including Apple’s pending litigation with Epic Games.

Finally, your staff has noted ongoing litigation as the reason for not providing a witness this month. Many other representatives of companies, both inside and outside of the technology sector, have testified before Congress in similar circumstances, and your staff was aware of the ongoing litigation when they were initially working with us to provide a witness. Apple’s sudden change in course to refuse to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee on app store competition issues in April, when the company is clearly willing to discuss them in other public forums, is unacceptable.

We strongly urge Apple to reconsider its position and to provide a witness to testify before the Subcommittee in a timely manner.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook have feuded for years over user privacy and antitrust concerns. Here’s where their rivalry began and everything that’s happened since.

Tim Cook Mark Zuckerberg
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been adversaries for years.
  • They’ve traded barbs over how expensive Apple products are and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • Now, Facebook is fighting back against Apple’s upcoming privacy feature.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The long-standing feud between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook appears to be raging on.

The two tech titans have been feuding since at least 2014, trading barbs over each other’s products and business models. But in recent months, their battle has escalated to public jabs, pointed ad campaigns, and even a possible legal dispute: The Information reported in January that Facebook is preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, alleging that Apple put a choke-hold on third-party app developers.

Here’s when the grudge began, and everything that’s happened since.

The feud between Zuckerberg and Cook became public in 2014, when Cook lambasted Facebook’s business model.

Tim Cook

In September 2014, Cook gave an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose that touched on a range of topics, including privacy.

During the interview — which took place in the weeks following the infamous leaks of multiple female celebrities’ nude photos stored on their iCloud accounts — Cook espoused Apple’s commitment to privacy while denouncing the business models of companies like Google and Facebook. 

“I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money,” Cook said. “And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried. And you should really understand what’s happening to that data.”  

Shortly after, Cook reiterated his stance in an open letter on Apple’s dedicated privacy site. 

“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product,” Cook wrote. 

Cook’s comments rankled Zuckerberg, who called the claims “ridiculous” and blasted Apple products as being expensive.

mark zuckerberg 2010

In an interview with Time later that year, Zuckerberg was reportedly visibly irritated by Cook’s assertions. 

“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 told Time’s Lev Grossman. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. 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!”

Their squabble came to a head following the Cambridge Analytica scandal when Cook criticized Facebook’s actions.

Tim Cook

In 2018, a whistleblower revealed that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested user data without consent from 50 million users. 

During an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in the months following, Cook was asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s shoes

Cook responded: “What would I do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Cook said that Facebook should have regulated itself when it came to user data, but that “I think we’re beyond that here.” He also doubled down on his stance that Facebook considers its users its product. 

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

Zuckerberg hit back, calling Cook’s comments “extremely glib.”

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

“You know, I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth,” Zuckerberg said during an interview on The Ezra Klein Show podcast.

He refuted the idea that Facebook isn’t focused on serving people and once again criticized the premium Apple places on its products. 

“I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you,” he said. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

Privately, Zuckerberg was reportedly outraged by Cook’s remarks – so much so that he ordered his employees to switch to Android devices.

Mark Zuckerberg security phone

In November 2018, The New York Times published a blockbuster report detailing the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The Times reported that Cook’s comments had “infuriated” Zuckerberg, who ordered employees on his management team who used iPhones to switch to Android. 

Soon after the report published, Facebook wrote a blog post refuting some of the reporting by The Times — but not the Zuckerberg-Cook feud. 

“Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook wrote. “And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.”

In August 2020, Zuckerberg jumped in the fray as Apple faced criticism over its App Store policies.

mark zuckerberg

During a company-wide meeting, Zuckerberg openly criticized Apple, saying it has a “unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” according to a report from BuzzFeed News

Zuckerberg also said that the App Store blocks innovation and competition and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents,” BuzzFeed reported. 

Apple has been facing antitrust scrutiny from Congress and has been strongly criticized by developers — most notably “Fortnite” creator Epic Games — for the 30% fee it takes from App Store purchases. Apple recently blocked an update to Facebook’s iOS app that would have informed users about the fee Apple charges.

Apple’s latest software update has been angering Facebook since it was announced, as Facebook says the new privacy features could destroy part of its business.

WWDC 2020

In the latest version if Apple’s smartphone operating system, iOS, iPhone app developers will need to ask permission from users in order to collect and track their data. While this will affect any company who makes iOS apps, it will have a direct impact on Facebook’s advertising business: It uses data tracking to dictate which ads are served to users. 

In an August blog post, Facebook said it may be forced to shut down Audience Network for iOS, a tool that personalizes ads in third-party apps. 

“This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision,” Facebook said. 

The complaints from Facebook and other developers led Apple to delay the new privacy tools until next year, saying it wanted to “give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes.”

Most recently, Facebook escalated the feud to a full-page ad in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

In the new ads, Facebook is arguing that the changes will hurt small businesses who advertise on Facebook’s platform.

“Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend,” the ad reads, which was posted by Twitter user Dave Stangis. 

Apple hit back, telling Business Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton that it was “standing up for our users.” 

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Facebook said it would help Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” in its legal battle with Apple.

tim cook fortnite epic games apple
A parody of Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, which appeared in a video streamed in “Fortnite.”

Epic Games is heading to trial with Apple next year over its suit claiming that Apple’s engages in anti-competitive behavior.

While Facebook isn’t joining the lawsuit, it is planning to help Epic with discovery for the trial. 

And Facebook is reportedly working on a lawsuit of its own that alleges Apple has abused its power in the app marketplace.

mark zuckerberg facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington DC on Oct. 23, 2019.

According to a report from The Information, Facebook is preparing a lawsuit claiming that Apple has forced app developers to follow a different set of rules than Apple-made apps, such as requiring developers to use an in-app payments system, of which Apple takes a cut.  

Facebook has reportedly been working on the case for several months and has considered inviting other companies to join the suit. 

Zuckerberg also lashed out at Apple during Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings call, saying the company frequently interferes with how Facebook’s apps work.

Mark Zuckerberg

When discussing Facebook’s suite of messaging apps during the conference call, Zuckerberg made a clear dig at Apple, saying the iPhone-maker made “misleading” privacy claims. 

“Now Apple recently released so-called nutrition labels, which focused largely on metadata that apps collect rather than the privacy and security of people’s actual messages, but iMessage stores non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default unless you disable iCloud,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg went on to describe Apple as “one of our biggest competitors” and said that because Apple is increasingly relying on services to fuel its business, it “has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own.”

“This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world,” he added.

But Cook hasn’t backed down from his view that Facebook’s business model of harvesting user data and selling it to advertisers is harmful to consumers.

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

During a speech at the European Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, Cook discussed business models that prioritize user engagement and rely on user data to make money. Though he didn’t mention Facebook by name, Cook made several references that alluded to the platform.

“At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement — the longer the better — and all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible,” Cook said.

Facebook has launched another ad campaign aimed at proving the need for personalized advertising amid its ongoing battle with Apple.

Mark Zuckerberg

The initiative, titled “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found,” makes the case that personalized ads help Facebook users discover small businesses, particularly during the pandemic. 

“Every business starts with an idea, and being able to share that idea through personalized ads is a game changer for small businesses,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the theme. “Limiting the use of personalized ads would take away a vital growth engine for businesses.”

The new campaign is Facebook’s latest effort to highlight the value of personalized ads ahead of Apple’s privacy crackdown — the new feature is expected to roll out this spring, and Facebook warned during its most recent earnings that it could begin affecting its business as early as the first quarter of 2021.

Cook called Facebook’s objections to the privacy update “flimsy arguments” during an interview with The New York Times.

Tim Cook

During a podcast interview with The Times’ Kara Swisher, Cook said that he believes society is in a privacy crisis and that he’s been “shocked” that there’s been pushback to the new feature to this degree. 

“We know these things are flimsy arguments,” Cook told The Times. “I think that you can do digital advertising and make money from digital advertising without tracking people when they don’t know they’re being tracked.”

Cook also said he doesn’t view Facebook as a competitor, contrary to what Zuckerberg has said.

“Oh, I think that we compete in some things,” Cook said. “But no, if I may ask who our biggest competitor are, they would not be listed. We’re not in the social networking business.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple faces yet another regulator investigation into whether its 30% App Store commission is unfair for developers, this time in the UK

apple tim cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • The UK’s competition regulator said on Thursday it has started investigating Apple. 
  • Apple charges developers a commission of up to 30% on purchases customers make via App Store apps.
  • Developers have complained the commission is unfair and anti-competitive.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Britain’s competition regulator said on Thursday it has opened an investigation into Apple after complaints that the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive.

The probe will consider if Apple has a dominant position in the distribution of apps on its devices in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said.

Payment policies related to Apple’s App Store have for long drawn complaints from app developers. It charges a commission of up to 30% from developers on the value of transactions or any time a consumer buys their app.

The iPhone maker said it will work with the regulator.

“The App Store has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place – applied fairly and equally to all developers – to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent,” Apple said in a statement.

The company is also being investigated on similar grounds by the Dutch competition authorities, who are nearing a draft decision, Reuters reported last month.

Last year, the European Commission too had opened a probe into the iPhone maker over the App Store commission fee.

“Complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice – potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps – warrant careful scrutiny,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.

Read the original article on Business Insider