Apple repeats that "the customer is not our product," this time to Congress

Apple repeats that
Back during the early days of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, many eyes turned to Apple. CEO Tim Cook was asked what he would do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, and the Apple executive's response has become something of a mantra for Apple. "I wouldn’t be in this situation," Cook said. "We could make a ton of money if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that."

Today, Apple's director of federal government affairs, Timothy Powderly, essentially repeated Cook's comments in a letter written to Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The letter was written in response to a missive that the congressman had sent to Tim Cook last month. Besides asking about Apple's position on privacy, Walden wanted to know whether the microphone used for Siri could be used to listen in to conversations, and how Apple collects information including location data.


A similar letter as the one sent Cook from Rep. Walden was also mailed to Alphabet CEO Larry Page. However, the questions sent to Page included one that asked whether Google receives location data from users of Android phones, even if the handset's location services have been disabled.

Check out the original letter from Rep. Walden by clicking on this link.

source: AppleInsider

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27 Comments

2. afrohoxha

Posts: 264; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Apple wants you to use exclusively App store and Google wants you to use Play store. That's the real thing, not the smartphone itself or the OS. So yes, YOU ARE THEIR PRODUCT, no matter what Cook and Page want you to believe.

15. middlehead

Posts: 467; Member since: May 12, 2014

Them wanting you to use their app store does to at all mean you are the product. You fundamentally misunderstand the idea. You are still the one paying for the apps regardless of who is allowed to sell them to you, making you the CUSTOMER. The CONSUMER being the product is the rest of Google's business model, and things like Facebook/Instagram. They provide a service that you do not pay for, because they're selling your information to other companies to fund it.

22. afrohoxha

Posts: 264; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

I know what the article ment, thank you. Google is not selling your information. It is targeting ads to you based on your behavior regarding sites you visit, videos you watched etc. Same thing as Apple and Google do by targeting and suggesting you apps based on your searches , previous purchases etc. Consider an app like a shopping site where you buy items. In order to get more visitors this site has to pay for ads. Same thing for apps. They pay to Apple and Google 30% of their income if they are commercial apps , and also can pay to appear higher on search results and on recommendations lists. You misunderstood me. I did not misunderstood the idea

29. middlehead

Posts: 467; Member since: May 12, 2014

You said that them wanting to exclusively use their app stores means you're a product. That is absolutely not true. You did not understand the idea of the consumer being the product.

31. afrohoxha

Posts: 264; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

I think you are not understanding... The way you use apps, searching for them or let's say for a feature makes you the target for suggestions and recommendations in the future...just like in ads. Just like AdSense and other ads engines ( and search engine itslef) are the entry point to determine you as a target for a potential ad, the same applies for app stores. Without them, without searching on them, without searching a feature in them, Apple and Google can't determine what apps to target you ( where lots of them would use the ad system to appear higher on the list). So just as you are a product when visiting a site ( this information is used to determine what ads to target you), making you a potential target for ads, you are a product when you browse in app stores, install an app , and maybe even when you complain in reviews, because all this behaviour of yours is translated in useful information for targeting. I don't know how to explain you any further...

33. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Product define as: a thing or person that is the result of an action or process. "his daughter, the product of his first marriage" synonyms: result, consequence, outcome, effect, upshot, fruit, by-product, spin-off "his skill is a product of experience" We are all a product of our environment. A product is something that eventually can make you money. A company sells a "product" to make money. In this case, OEM's sell you a "product", which makes you go any buy other "products" also make them more money. if you never buy their product, then they can't make any money, so thus you aren't a product of their environment.

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4333; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Unless you're in China, then profit trumps privacy.

4. drunkenjay

Posts: 1702; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

The customer is not our product but $25 dongles are a must to use the product.

5. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Once you are connected online you already became the product by and firm. Once online it stays online forever.

36. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 740; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

And what does having connected online have to do with becoming a product by and firm if you only watch youtube videos or read online magazines and comic?

6. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

One trillion dollar company. "We could make a ton of money if our customer was our product." Reversed reality distortion field. :-P

7. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I wouldn't mind some clarification - "...the questions sent to Page included one that asked whether Google receives location data from users of Android phones, even if the handset's location services have been disabled". Apple is redoing their mapping application from scratch, and they are getting more into the advertising business, so my question is this - was Alphabet asked more questions than apple in regards to user privacy?

9. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Some knuckle draggers spewing hyperbolic nonsense here in the comments. Exactly what I was expecting when I scrolled down. So predictable. Sad!

10. cmdacos

Posts: 4333; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Apple sticks to its ground on its core apps and iOS in general and then leverages all of its app partners collection of data to get what they need which is the foundation of Siri shortcuts. It's win win. As said above, if you connect to a cellular or wifi network, you will always be the product regardless of what the phone manufacturer says.

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

"the customer is not our product" "don't be evil" "melts in your mouth, not in your hands" "like a good neighbour, state farm is here" Nothing more than slogans written by the marketing department

14. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

You forgot, "MAGICAL" & "It just works"

25. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I was limiting myself to one slogan per company

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