Strong words, right? The argument can be made that Apple benefits and prospers by enabling online stalkers. First, let’s define an online stalker as any entity that tracks your online presence repeatedly, and makes a profit while hiding in the shadows.
That means search engines and advertisers are little more than stalkers; following you online while you browse or visit websites. Advertisers are not just about displaying ads. They’re about tracking data. Among the worst offenders is Google itself. Apple is complicit with Google.
Follow The Money
Yes, online advertising is something of a necessary evil. It’s the foundation of free content and we see it everywhere online, but also on television, radio, and print. Advertising makes the world go around. But online advertising is different because it’s pernicious, and the internet itself allows for a behind-the-scenes tracking system that most of us don’t know exists.
Search for a product, website, or use specific keywords in Google (Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows– it doesn’t matter) and the search engine giant begins the tracking. Let me call it stalking because such tracking is surreptitious to the average person online. Google makes billions in profits each year from such dubious activities that go on in the darkness of cyberspace. Apple is complicit with Google in online stalking activity.
Google is paying Apple billions of dollars to remain the default search engine on iPhones and iPads… Google will pay Apple about $3 billion this year, up from $1 billion just three years ago, and that Google’s licensing fees make up a large bulk of Apple’s services business.
Bernstein analyst A. M. Sacconaghi Jr.:
Court documents indicate that Google paid Apple $1B in 2014, and we estimate that total Google payments to Apple in FY 17 may approach $3B… Given that Google payments are nearly all profit for Apple, Google alone may account for 5% of Apple’s total operating profits this year, and may account for 25% of total company OP growth over the last two years.”
Whenever something affects people in a negative way all we need to do is follow the money. Google pays Apple billions to ensure that Google is the default search engine on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Google likes money. Apple likes money. Most Mac, iPhone, and iPad customers use Safari as their browser of choice, and most never bother to change the default search engine setting. Google.
Apple’s iOS devices contribute about 50 percent to Google’s mobile search revenue, which means Google might be too afraid to walk away from its licensing deal with Apple. In this case, it’s a win-win for Apple and Google.
Not quite. It’s win-win-lose because Apple sides with Google when it comes to online privacy and profits immensely from Google’s ability to stalk users online. For all of Apple’s talk about privacy and security, the company has little difficulty cashing checks from Google at the expense of their own customers.
Here’s the deal. Google tracks you online. So does Amazon and many other online advertisers who are not just content to display an add with a link attached to it on whatever website you visit. You are being tracked by your internet service provider’s IP address, by cookies inserted on websites, and many other methods which combine to create an online profile. Plus, advertisers and ad networks share data with each other, so if you search on Amazon for fishing gear today, you’ll see many ads over the next week for fishing gear (or, whatever else you search for on Amazon, Google, Bing, and other websites.
Even visiting websites without using a search engine is cause for tracking which is little short of online stalking. It’s one thing to know you’re being tracked with knowledge and permissions, but it’s something else for trackers to stalk your online habits and exchange data with one another.
Apple is complicit with Google. Apple may not do the tracking and stalking but Apple profits mightily from such efforts and does so because of the enormous profits involved, customer privacy be damned.