Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Apple lays out its social media aspirations

Matt Kapko | Sept. 19, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook unequivocally tells PBS' Charlie Rose that the company has no plans to be in the social media business. "We have no plans to be in the social networking area," he tells Rose without hesitation.

'You're Not Our Product'

Days after the interview aired, Cook penned a letter on Apple's site that lays out the company's commitment to privacy in greater detail. "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. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy," he writes.

"Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don't build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't 'monetize' the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you," Cook adds.

Apple's business is "based on selling these," he tells Rose, pointing to a pair of new iPhones on the table during their interview. "Our business is not based on having information about you. You're not our product... So we run a very different company. I think everyone has to ask how do companies make their money. Follow the money, 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. And the companies, I think, should be very transparent about it."

Apple Pay, the company's new mobile payments system slated to launch next month, is another example where Apple is determined to stay above the fray, he says. Apple doesn't want information about the purchases its customers will make with Apple Pay because "we're not in that business," Cook says.

"One very small part of our business does serve advertisers, and that's iAd," Cook writes in his letter about user privacy. "We built an advertising network because some app developers depend on that business model, and we want to support them as well as a free iTunes Radio service. iAd sticks to the same privacy policy that applies to every other Apple product. It doesn't get data from Health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail, and you can always just opt out altogether."

Back in the hot seat with Rose, Cook says he's "offended" by the troubling revelations made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as he reaffirmed his belief in peoples' right to privacy. Apple never worked with a government agency from any country to create a backdoor to its servers, as was reported in the press, Cook tells Rose.

"None of that is true, zero. We would never allow that to happen. They would have to cart us out in a box before we would do that," Cook exclaims.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.