Facebook vs. Apple: Tech’s biggest cold war heats up — those who make money off personal data versus those who don’t

Facebook vs. Apple: Tech’s biggest cold war heats up — those who make money off personal data versus those who don’t. By David Ingram.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has rarely missed an opportunity in the past year to hit Facebook about its privacy issues. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t been shy about hitting back, accusing Apple of ignoring the poorest of the world’s consumers.

But on Wednesday, the brewing cold war between the two companies turned hot, when Apple said it had determined that Facebook violated its own rules for developers with a program that paid teenagers and others for their smartphone data. Apple then cut off Facebook employees’ access to internal Facebook corporate apps that run on iPhones and other Apple devices, a move that caused disarray at Facebook’s headquarters. …

A personal battle:

Some observers of the two companies believe the fight has become personal between Zuckerberg, the 34-year-old from New York who founded Facebook, and Cook, 58, an Alabama native who was a largely anonymous tech executive until he took over Apple in 2011.

“The heart of this is ego. These two hate each other,” said Scott Galloway, a New York University marketing professor and author of “The Four,” a book about the dominance of Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google. …

But it’s really over how they make their income:

At its core, the disagreement speaks to a growing philosophical rift in the tech industry between companies that make money off personal data, and those that do not. Apple is on one side (companies should not exchange privacy for services), while Facebook is on the other ( data-targeted ads are a small price to pay for connecting the world). …

The dispute so far affects only software developers and other Facebook employees, but if it escalates, bad blood between the companies could mean slower updates to Facebook apps on Apple devices or, in the most extreme case, Apple banning the company’s apps including Instagram and Messenger — which in turn could mean a backlash against Apple. …

Later on Thursday, Apple issued a similar punishment to Google, which had also been found to be skirting the developer rules. An Apple spokesperson, however, said it was “working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates very quickly.”