Technology companies are both partners and competitors. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have a growing number of applications that run on Apple’s macOS and iOS; Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Yet, each company is different from the other, with Apple the outlier among the group because most of Apple’s revenue and profits come from hardware sales vs. advertising, software, or retail sales.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine works much like Google. Advertising is the name of the game. The same holds true for Facebook, but with a different approach. Even Amazon is a big online advertiser and tracks customers and online users with an incessant array of ads, and all of them litter the internet with ads that follow as we browse or use various applications.
Privacy and security have become major issues of consideration for online users in the past few years, and of the group noted above, Apple remains the most publicly devoted to the customer’s user experience. What about Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft et al?
First, Facebook. The social network giant has a new VPN client that lives in Facebook for iOS as Protect in the navigation menu. Does it protect you while using Facebook? No. Tap protect and you are re-directed to Facebook’s Onavo Protect, a VPN security app on the App Store.
VPN’s are good, right? Uh, not so much in this case because Onavo’s VPN allows Facebook to monitor your activity while you use other applications on your iPhone. Sneaky, no.
Second, Google. The latest news from Mountain View is Google’s popular Chrome browse which comes with a new built-in ad blocker system to protect your browsing experience from websites which do not adhere to so-called best advertising practices. Which website ads are immune to the blocker? Google’s ads.
Third, Amazon. The world’s largest online store is a heavy internet advertiser and has a giant network of tools which follows us while we’re online. Have you ever noticed that when you search for boots on Amazon that you’re hounded with boots ads on websites you visit for a few weeks afterwards? That’s because Amazon knows who you are, knows where you live, knows what you search for, and has compiled what amounts to a personal dossier about your online habits– all so it can stuff more ads into your face while you’re online, so you’ll be more easily influenced to buy from Amazon.
Fourth, Microsoft. All I can say here is that it’s a good thing Microsoft has had a Windows and Office hegemony because the company isn’t really good at anything else. Bing is the laughing stock of online search. Windows and Office are cash cows. Microsoft wants to be like Apple with the Surface line of PCs, but that industry is fading away, and the company has trouble diversifying anywhere else except in the cloud business, which has many competitors.
Lastly, let me look at Apple.
Our favorite Mac and iPhone maker has little need to advertising revenue because most profits are generated by hardware sales, and those that are not– Services is the fastest growing revenue stream at Apple– are dependent upon hardware. I want Apple to do a better job providing customers with privacy and security, especially so in an era where the company’s competitors are so vain and explicit with their disdain for users and customers, but tell me who else besides Apple seems to care about the customer’s rights?
It’s certainly not Facebook, Google, Amazon, or Microsoft.