Apple's Tim Cook slammed for ad hypocrisy

From Danny Fortson's "Tim Cook risks Apple’s reputation for privacy with multibillion dollar ad empire" ($) posted Sunday in the London Sunday Times:

At the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, Tim Cook had some choice words for Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

“The truth is we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer — if our customer was our product,” the Apple boss said. “We’ve elected not to do that...”

It was canny manoeuvring, but also quite easy. After all, Apple sold phones and tablets, not ads. How times change.

Apple is now in the process of quietly creating a giant advertising business that Evercore ISI, the investment bank, reckons could bring in $20 billion by 2025, up from less than $1 billion in 2018, when Cook fired his broadside at Zuckerberg. What’s more, he is building the business by, in some cases, using detailed behaviour data, from the news stories one reads to the apps they download.

Charles Manning, chief executive of mobile ad firm Kochava, said that over the past year, there has been “an audible sucking sound” of companies in the $300 billion (£244 billion) mobile ad industry economy moving their dollars to Apple’s business and away from rivals such as Google and Facebook’s owner Meta. He said that clients have nearly tripled their spend with Apple from 12 per cent in 2021 to more than 30 per cent this year — and that share is climbing fast.

My take: Tim Cook's reputation among investors will only be enhanced.

5 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    If only Danny bothered to present facts fairly.

    $300B was 2021 mobile ad revenue WW. It’s expected to double by 2025. At that time, Apple’s $20B would be ) 3.3% (assuming forecasts are kinda accurate. “audible sucking sound” ? more like a gentle breeze.

    And yes, investor happy.

    5
    June 12, 2022
  2. Steven Philips said:
    Apple just needs to be really straightforward about how they’re using customer data and how it differs from Google and Facebook so media can’t insinuate an equality. Unambiguous, simple, not weasel words.

    4
    June 12, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      And in particular, Apple needs to be explicit about who it shares data with, and for what purpose. Lumping Apple and Google in the same boat is not unreasonable without Apple discriminating itself on data policies.

      I saw a piece that I didn’t read that talked about Apple and Google sharing iPhone data. Not sure if that article was legit, but it’s the kind of thing that Apple MUST address by being forthright about data.

      2
      June 12, 2022
  3. Robert Stack said:
    Hmmm…$20B in new revenue from ads by 2025?

    Why that would be half of the $40B in new revenue that Eric Savitz wonders how Apple will generate moving forward (see PED’s post from yesterday). And it’s not even mentioned by Eric, plus this revenue carries extremely high margins.

    And it’s not “hypocrisy” if Apple does it while respecting its customers’ privacy!

    2
    June 12, 2022
  4. David Drinkwater said:
    “ Charles Manning, chief executive of mobile ad firm Kochava, said that over the past year, there has been “an audible sucking sound” of companies in the $300 billion (£244 billion) mobile ad industry economy moving their dollars to Apple’s business and away from rivals such as Google and Facebook’s owner Meta.”

    Maybe this isn’t hypocrisy: maybe this is Apple customers believing they would rather be advertised to than sold.

    3
    June 12, 2022

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