Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the opening remarks of the company’s fourth quarter earnings call to blast Apple over its upcoming privacy changes, and to say Facebook increasingly sees Apple as one of its biggest competitors.
Apple is gearing up for a software change that will more prominently ask iPhone and iPad users if they want to share their information for ad-tracking purposes. The online advertising industry expects to be hit as some percentage of users choose not to share that information.
Facebook, which derives nearly all its revenue from online advertising, has been outspoken about the changes, running newspaper ads, publishing a website and running a blog post outlining its arguments opposing Apple over the change it claims “threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.”
Zuckerberg, in his comments, suggested Apple uses its position to help its own services, particularly its iMessage service, which competes with Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp services.
“iMessage is a key linchpin of their ecosystem,” he said. “It comes pre-installed on every iPhone and they preference it with private APIs and permissions, which is why iMessage is the most used messaging service in the U.S.”
He said Apple’s business is now depending more and more on gaining share in apps and services.
“Apple 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,” he said. “This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with the upcoming iOS 14 changes.”
Zuckerberg also reiterated Facebook’s argument that Apple’s privacy changes will make it harder for small businesses ability to reach their customers with targeted ads.
“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people but the moves clearly track their competitor interests,” he said. “We and others are going to be up against this for the foreseeable future.”
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