Tim Cook talks about digital advertising, privacy and Epic in new interview

Tim Cook has appeared in a new interview this week to speak about App Tracking Transparency, a privacy-focused feature that puts the control in the hands of the user. This feature will be launching soon with iOS 14.5 and has been causing a lot of commotion amongst the advertising industry. He also spoke about Apple’s court battle against Epic Games.

Apple under Tim Cook

“Digital advertising is going to thrive in any situation”

Speaking with a newspaper in Canada, Toronto Star, Tim Cook clarified that Apple is not against digital advertising but the company believes that users should have control over their data and privacy. Cook said that digital advertising will thrive despite giving users transparency.

We’re not against digital advertising. I think digital advertising is going to thrive in any situation, because more and more time is spent online, less and less is spent on linear TV. And digital advertising will do well in any situation. The question is, do we allow the building of this detailed profile to exist without your consent?

Cook said that Apple feels a sense of responsibility to protect its customer’s privacy and security due to the amount of personal information that is on their phone now.

You think about it, you search on your phone and so the information about what you’re thinking is on your phone. Your bank records, your health records, your conversations with friends and family, business colleagues — all of this information is on your phone. And so we feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to help users from a privacy and security point of view.

Tim Cook was also asked about the steps that P&G and other companies are taking to sidestep App Tracking Transparency changes and track users.  He responded that companies are doing so because they believe they will get less data because people were not being asked for their consent before.

The only reason why you would push back is if you believe you’ll get less data. The only reason you would get less data is because people are consciously deciding not to do it and were not being asked before.

Cook also reiterated that Apple believes that privacy is a fundamental human right.

“Epic wants to make the App Store a flea market”

In another interview with Toronto Star, focused on Apple v Epic court battle, Tim Cook said that Epic wants to turn the App Store into a flea market by introducing different payment methods.

“At the heart of the Epic complaint is they’d like developers to each put in their own payment information. But that would make the App Store a flea market and you know the confidence level you have at the flea market.”

This would impact the quality of apps in the App Store, and also reduce the number of people that use it, in turn reducing the audience that buys apps.

“The volume of people going into such a market would be dramatically lower, which would be bad for the user, because they would miss out on the innovation like we just heard with the four developers. And the developers would be left out because they wouldn’t have a huge audience to sell to. So nobody wins in that environment.”

Cook believes that Apple has a good chance of winning the court battle against Epic, “I believe if we tell the story, the facts, if we can communicate those clearly, then I’m confident that we should prevail”.

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