Business models come and go. And change. While Apple primarily is a hardware company, it also makes tens of billions in Services each year. How does that old fashioned business model compare to Google or Facebook?
I’m old enough to remember $1.99 breakfasts in Las Vegas. Why such a low price? Slot machines were nearby and needed someone to pull the lever, so a $1.99 breakfast was a good enticement to walk inside. Likewise, Google and Facebook need to give something away to get something back.
No. Free. Lunch.
Apple is a for-profit company. You buy a product. The company keeps some of the price as a profit. Google and Facebook are different. You are not a customer. You are a user. There is a difference. Google’s customers are advertisers. Facebook’s customers are advertisers. You, the user, are a target for the advertisers, and both the search engine giant and the social media giant use information gathered from you to fine tune and better target their advertising.
In short, you get to use software and services for free in exchange for giving up personal information. Google and Facebook track you while you use their software, but the tracking does not stop when you stop using the software.
For example, Google employs a website utility called Google Analytics and uses that data to determine where website visitors come from and which devices they use to browse the interwebs and which applications they use on whichever platform they use. Booth Google and Facebook track users from website to website, recording information about the user, their website destinations, and other information that can be utilized to create ever more targeted advertising.
Why do Google and Facebook track your online habits?
Both companies are wildly profitable and dominant in their respective positions relative to competitors. They got that way because they track users, gather data, then use that data to push advertising that is more targeted and more effective than advertising in the past.
Not only are you giving up information about yourself so you can use free software, but that very information is then used to persuade and manipulate you.
The act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.
That includes online ads, too.
To manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner
You are the one giving information to Google and Facebook to be used against you, to persuade you to buy or use a specific product or service, or to change your habits or manipulate your thinking regarding politics, religion, or products.
How about this?
A type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative and devious.
That’s Google and Facebook but don’t think for a moment that Apple is not involved in similar chicanery. Apple’s designers and marketers know full well that product packaging and product feel are strong motivators.
What’s the difference?
Ultimately, not much. Apple wants your money. Google and Facebook want your money. How they get it differs, but the end result is the same.