Mark Zuckerberg made his executives use Android phones after Tim Cook slammed Facebook's approach to privacy

mark zuckerberg(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have traded insults and barbs over the years.
  • It’s always seemed to be about business, and not personal. But apparently something that Cook said earlier this year “infuriated” Zuckerberg.
  • Zuckerberg went so far as to order his management team to use Android phones, instead of Apple’s iPhone, according to a new report in The New York Times.

Earlier this spring, Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a very public manner related to its privacy scandals and the Cambridge Analytica affair.

Zuckerberg called Cook’s criticism “extremely glib,” and apparently he was seething behind closed doors. He was mad enough to tell his executives to use Android phones instead of Apple’s iPhone, according to a massive new report from The New York Times

“Mr. Cook’s criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones, since the operating system has far more users than Apple’s,” states the report.

The zing earlier this year that might have upset Zuckerberg came during an interview on MSNBC. 

Recode’s Kara Swisher asked Cook a question about Cambridge Analytica, an incident in which private Facebook user data was stolen from 50 million users, asking if the Apple CEO was in Zuckerberg’s place, “what would you do?” 

He answered: “What would do? I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

In the same interview and in subsequent speeches, Cook called for privacy regulation that would impact businesses like Facebook, which make their money from ads, significantly more than Apple, which makes money from hardware sales. 

But Cook and Zuckerberg have traded barbs for years. Cook said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2014 that “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.”

This apparently got under Zuckerberg’s skin even back then, with a journalist from Time noticing the tension in a profile of the Facebook founder:

“But before that happens Zuckerberg also notes—and it was the only time I saw him display irritation—that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote something similar in September in a statement spelling out Apple’s privacy policy: “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.” The shot was probably meant for Google, but Facebook was definitely in the blast radius. “A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” Zuckerberg says. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”

Years later, it appears Zuckerberg still isn’t “in alignment” with Apple if he’s making his management team eschew a specific brand of phone. 

The full New York Times story is a great read for anyone who’s interested in Facebook and misinformation.

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