Apple and Facebook: How it came to this

The New York Times deconstructs the breakdown of high tech relationship -- just as Apple is set flip Facebook's data-tracking switch.

From Mike Isaac and Jack Nicas' "Breaking Point: How Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook Became Foes" posted Monday on

At a confab for tech and media moguls in Sun Valley, Idaho, in July 2019, Timothy D. Cook of Apple and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook sat down to repair their fraying relationship.

For years, the chief executives had met annually at the conference, which was held by the investment bank Allen & Company, to catch up. But this time, Facebook was grappling with a data privacy scandal. Mr. Zuckerberg had been blasted by lawmakers, regulators and executives — including Mr. Cook — for letting the information of more than 50 million Facebook users be harvested by a voter-profiling firm, Cambridge Analytica, without their consent.

At the meeting, Mr. Zuckerberg asked Mr. Cook how he would handle the fallout from the controversy, people with knowledge of the conversation said. Mr. Cook responded acidly that Facebook should delete any information that it had collected about people outside of its core apps.

Mr. Zuckerberg was stunned, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Facebook depends on data about its users to target them with online ads and to make money. By urging Facebook to stop gathering that information, Mr. Cook was in effect telling Mr. Zuckerberg that his business was untenable. He ignored Mr. Cook’s advice...

My take: Fun read, well reported, not yet in print. Should have been the cover of the Times' Sunday magazine.

See also: This is the day Mark Zuckerberg has been dreading.


  1. Ken Cheng said:
    “ outside of its core apps.”

    Presumably a story simplification, since that wouldn’t make FB’s business model “untenable”, just smaller and less invasive and overreaching. Maybe the ads wouldn’t be as apt, but they’d still have a huge advantage over other social media platforms.

    April 26, 2021
  2. David Emery said:
    Typical NYT, in that it takes every opportunity to characterize Apple products as expensive and Apple’s motives as financially driven. You don’t see similar characterizations of Facebook as ‘greedy’.

    April 26, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      Nor do you see this article discuss the questionable tactics and data FB has used to market to advertisers. To me, that should be a huge scandal. FB has blatantly lied about how effective its ‘targeted ads’ are, and -that- definitely hurts those small companies that FB purports to serve.

      April 26, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    There’s no story. All old. Did not read it.

    Steve Jobs took this position 11 years ago. Tim Cook gave everyone 1 year to plan for it. (And a year to plead their case to the cheap seats.)

    April 26, 2021
    • Thomas Larkin said:
      “And a year to plead their case to the cheap seats.” Well said!

      April 26, 2021
  4. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Karma’s a bitch.

    April 26, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      Yet, I must add — unless I’m some anomaly — I don’t (and I certainly can’t name anyone who does) click on ads ANYWHERE, no matter how bespoken and tailor-crafted to the intended targeted consumer they’ve become through the snoop expertise of companies like FB and Google.

      So shoving ads in the faces of billions becomes admirable?

      Not in my book. Think different.

      April 26, 2021
  5. My response: I just initiated the Software Update to iOS 14.5. Apple Watch will now unlock my phone while I wear my beekeeper suit, AirTags will be supported (wish they were small enough to stick to a queen bee) and App Tracking Transparency implemented. All improvements I desire. No charge for the new OS on my iPhone X either. I expect a massive wave of app updates after the update completes but I’ll be cleaning up around my new bee hives then. Moved 12,000 bees from nucs into 2 new hives yesterday, jamming on AirPods Pro while covered with Apis mellifera. My assistant watched from too far away…

    April 26, 2021
    • Roger Schutte said:
      Thomas, my experience the past 4-6 weeks with the ‘unlock iPhone with watch’ feature is it’s for when you have a mask covering your mouth and nose. It may not do the trick for your beekeeper hood as it definitely relies on a clear view of your eyes and upper face.

      April 26, 2021
  6. Jonny T said:
    Good and Bad are unreconcilable. Bet you anything Zuck would prefer to be on the other side of this argument…

    April 26, 2021
  7. Thomas Larkin said:
    Let’s be clear who will be flipping Facebook’s tracking switch off. It’s the consumer. Period. The consumer’s choice in each instance.

    April 26, 2021

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