User privacy: The new battle ground

Read this Bloomberg Report first.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Personally Lobbying Congress to Stop Antitrust Bills – Bloomberg

Cook has become one of the country’s most politically active tech CEOs in recent years as Apple struggles to fend off antitrust legislation gaining traction in Congress. The company is ramping up its lobbying spending and hiring well-connected former congressional aides. And it’s cozying up to powerful Washington figures, often deploying Cook to make Apple’s arguments directly to lawmakers…..

“Apple has been able to get by on goodwill and a light-touch approach for more than a decade,” said Matt Kent, who advocates for tougher antitrust laws for Public Citizen, the left-leaning consumer-rights group in Washington. The heightened Washington presence “is a testament to how big of a threat” Apple faces, Kent said. 

For a company that’s worth trillions, this is chump change.

Apple is arguing against increased scrutiny because there’s legislation around removing the “app-store”. That’s the potential playground because Apple doesn’t like competition. It has been doling out subpar operating systems, hardware and services, and my concern – healthcare/wellness. There is a slow creep around healthcare, specifically, and the biggest news is not even news. App Store can easily become the fulcrum for services delivery, as more users part with their financial information.

Apple has spent years branding itself as the most privacy-friendly major tech company, launching a series of products and initiatives aimed at curtailing commercial surveillance and limiting the degree to which other companies can access data on Apple customers.

“Here in Washington and elsewhere, policymakers are taking steps in the name of competition that would force Apple to let apps on the iPhone that circumvent the App Store,” Cook in April said in a rare speech in Washington. “That means data-hungry companies will be able to avoid our privacy rules and once again track our users against their will. It would also potentially give bad actors a way around the comprehensive security protections we’ve put in place putting them in direct contact with our users.”

In meetings with lawmakers, Cook has said that Apple should be treated differently than Facebook and Google because Apple’s business model doesn’t rely on vacuuming up user data, unlike its tech peers. In the meeting with Senate Republicans in June, Cook leaned into Apple’s major talking point: that the antitrust legislation could harm online privacy and security.

Primarily, the company is firing its claims on the back of user privacy, which has become a new battleground. It won’t take much for the company to “sherlock your business model” as has been done to numerous indie developers. By incorporating the feature set of subscription based applications in its own “free apps”. it has shafted numerous developers. There are several precedents for this. It will never accept that acquisitions mode is the primary method. It stifles competition, and there is usually a lag period of around four years before the “features” come to the main operating system. One prime example – TAT acquisition for user interface. TAT is an acronym for “That Astonishing Tribe” and had provided key inputs for BlackBerry 10. After the BBOS died, Apple copied the exact sequence of UI to its “flagship” operating system. They lack ideas and, needless to say, engineering skills too.

Beware of the poisoned Apple!

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