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Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Privacy Letter Is a Huge Shot at Google

3 minute read

Once again, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has come out swinging against his company’s arch-rival Google.

A letter penned by Cook appeared on Apple’s website this month alongside several other neatly designed pages devoted to detailing the company’s privacy policies. Cook’s manifesto blasts the search giant’s business model—in everything but name—while upholding Apple’s model as an alternative that respects peoples’ privacy and security.

“A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product,” Cook wrote. “But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.”

Cook, of course, does not call Google out by name. But he gets his point across. The search giant offers its consumer services for free, in exchange for selling users’ personal information to marketers and advertisers. That’s how Google and other Apple rivals—such as Facebook and Twitter—make money.

Apple, on the other hand, takes pains to disassociate users’ Apple IDs with their user profiles. The data the company does collect are intended merely to improve its services (except iAd, Apple’s ad network, which Cook claims is there simply to support app developers). As Cook writes:

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

This is not the first time Cook has taken a swing at Google. In June, Cook delivered a blistering attack on his Silicon Valley competitors in a speech. A year ago, he spoke out against his challengers on PBS’s Charlie Rose show.

Now with the addition of this privacy section of the Apple site, he’s more firmly planted his flag.

“We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why,” Cook wrote. “We’re going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.”

For reference, here are the privacy policy pages for Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

For more on Tim Cook, read this cover story about his leadership from the April 1, 2015, edition of Fortune.

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