Kara Swisher: 'At least Apple can read the room'

From Kara Swisher's "Facebook’s Tone-Deaf Attack on Apple" in Saturday's New York Times:

“He’s a prig,” a top Facebook executive said to me about Mr. Cook several years ago. This followed an interview I did with Mr. Cook in which he dissed Mr. Zuckerberg.

“He’s a menace,” an Apple executive said to me about Mr. Zuckerberg after the Facebook chief executive tried to take aim at Apple for being elitist and too pricey at a congressional hearing.

Whatever, boys. But the cracks we are seeing this week are the most significant — and could spell trouble for both companies. Apple, pointing out Facebook’s data gluttony, and Facebook, in turn, noting Apple’s hegemony over mobile, make one thing clear: These tech companies have too much power. And no matter how you slice it, they are all in dire need of government regulation.

At least Apple can read the room. It’s beginning to change the rules of the App Store and loosen its grip over developers. I would not be surprised if Apple found a way to make more concessions, hoping to fend off more dangerous antitrust action, by subjecting the App Store to some sort of scheme to level the playing field around fees and more.

Facebook, on the other hand, knows only one move: Exert power through money and influence, a strategy that’s undergirded by Mr. Zuckerberg’s remarkable streak of stubbornness in the face of persistent criticism.

My take: Swisher is on a roll. There's more on Apple vs. Facebook in her Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway that landed Friday. Stick around for Galloway's rage-fueled Robinhood rant.


  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    I believe Mark Zuckerberg is over reacting to Apple’s plan to give its users the choice to opt in or to opt out with Facebook and others tracking their activities across the web. Most folk with whom I discuss this subject seem to care less. Many prefer targeted advertisements to advertisements unrelated with their interest or appeal. Most individuals commented that they live such boring lives so why would anyone be interested in “me.” Others feel little to no threat knowing that Facebook or some app developer is tracking them. Some said they desired to be tracked by apps. These persons were farmers, ranchers, hunters who give weather maps full access to track so the user can know of pending emergency weather events. Other users commented that they desired to know if there were specific vendors nearby or other services available in the vicinity.

    My findings are most folk feel no threat. Perhaps they do not understand fully the ramifications involved in these companies and apps having so much tracking information on users. It’s never been explained fully how it is harmful and bad. So, my discussions over the years tells me Mark Zuckerberg is over reacting. Users who will opt out are the ones who already opt out.

    December 19, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Good points Jerry. I upvoted.

    Other than gossip columnists like Kara, and some naive investors/advisors, no else cares about Zuk’s attempt to deflect attention with his big ad/rant against Apple.

    December 19, 2020

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