08.31.20 - User privacy has been a tenant of Apple and with its latest iOS update the company has been showing its commitment to that promise - A move that will bite into revenues of advertisers, specifically Facebook. The new iOS update limits some of the tracking tech that some Apps use to make money through advertising to target users and serve them ads.
Facebook has said that the move will reduce the effectiveness to serve ads and will cut into its revenues. This is a good sign, and further complicates any action of antitrust regulation against Apple. It’s hard to paint a company as a big bad gatekeeper when it’s actually serving the best interests of it’s users by protecting them against certain data collection practices. Based on the anecdotal evidence, it’s fair to assume that most people would prefer tech giants not collecting more data, and Apple is not in the advertising business and has no stakes of its own it would be compromising.
This also inadvertently helps Facebook because it levels the competitive playing field. Facebook’s ability to target is far more advanced than that of publishers. The qualms the government has, and potential anti-trust actions, are becoming hard to pursue because many of the actions the company takes that are presumably “anti-competitive” are done largely in the best interest of the users. Apple also has plenty of product competition. It may control the top of the market, but Google’s Android still controls three quarters of the global smartphone market.
This move comes after Apple removed Fortnite from its App store for facilitating direct in-App payments, skirting Apple’s payment gateway - A payment gateway that takes a 30% fee from software developers that facilitate commerce within Apple. We previously talked about Epic Games Fortnite lawsuit against Apple, however the anti-trust lines have become blurred. The Bell System and Standard Oil were broken up, not only because of their monopolist market power, but because of the huge barriers to entry in the market. The tech market has options, but the market is driven by consumer market choice. How does congress lay down rules of regulation on organizations that have user elected market control?