How Apple weaponized privacy

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Apple’s freshly updated privacy portal is a bullet aimed at rival business models.

From Apple products are designed to protect your privacy:

At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.

And so much of your personal information — information you have a right to keep private — lives on your Apple devices.

Your heart rate after a run. Which news stories you read first. Where you bought your last coffee. What websites you visit. Who you call, email, or message.

Every Apple product is designed from the ground up to protect that information. And to empower you to choose what you share and with whom.

We’ve proved time and again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of your privacy and security. Instead, they can support them.

My take: This is a selling point for Apple that gets stronger with every Facebook data breach. But I can’t read the company’s rhetoric without thinking of the term Stratechery’s Ben Thompson coined for it back in 2013:

You can almost hear it now:

How admirable! Golly gee, Apple is such a better company than those hypocritical evil-doers at Google! Why can’t everyone treat customers so well? Apple good. Google bad. Facebook worse.

The truth is this is nothing more than a strategy credit:

Strategy Credit: An uncomplicated decision that makes a company look good relative to other companies who face much more significant trade-offs. For example, Android being open source.

There’s nothing worth praising here – or denigrating – but it’s worth acknowledging. In the meantime, though, Apple will happily score rhetorical points in the court of public opinion for a decision that wasn’t difficult at all.

BTW, the inverse of a strategy credit, in Thompson’s lexicon,  is a strategy tax:

A strategy tax is anything that makes a product less likely to succeed, yet is included to further larger corporate goals.

He used the example five years ago of the release of Office for iPhone, but not iPad. See here.