back to article Apple slams Android as a 'massive tracking device' in internal slides revealed in Google antitrust battle

The US Department of Justice released a series of documents in its antitrust trial against Google yesterday, including documents that reveal Apple made its default search deal with the Chocolate Factory despite considerable privacy reservations.  Among the dump of documents released by the DoJ Thursday was an internal Apple …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news: Pope's Catholic leanings revealed.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Your thoughts made me remember and laugh to create an update... "The Bible was a consolation to a fellow alone in the old cell. The lovely thin paper with a bit of mattress stuffing in it, if you could get a match, was as good a smoke as I ever tasted, but these days I just search on Google and print the results on a packet of paper sheets."

      - A Brendan Behan quote updated after thinking about the normal Google search results that are 50% helpful and 50% adverts.

    2. spireite Silver badge

      I read that as Catholic Popes leanings..... and we know where most church leaders lean *cough*

  2. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    Surprise?!

    If apple wants to play that game they need to be very, very ready.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Surprise?!

      For what? What do you think could possibly be aimed at them?

  3. Yorick Hunt Silver badge
    Trollface

    Pot... Kettle...

    Cauldron...

    I suppose the army of marketers they employ need to be doing something, even if only creating an infinite number of PowerPoint (or Keynote as the case may be) slides.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Pot... Kettle...

      But always remember that "improve the user experience" means "force ads down the user's throat that they are most likely to click on". I think that's Google's life blood, not Apple's.

      1. OscarG

        Re: Pot... Kettle...

        Exactly. Lumping Apple in with the rest of "big tech" reveals profound ignorance of what each company does.

        Apple is not a gatekeeper to the Internet, or even large sections of it, to millions of people. Google, Amazon, and (sadly) Meta are. Nor is Apple a monopoly over anything except its own mobile-device app store, which is not a monopoly in its market either.

        The only legitimate aggrieved party in Apple's case is developers, and even their grievances are limited to Apple's lies and capricious behavior in regard to its app store.

        1. v13

          Re: Pot... Kettle...

          > Apple is not a gatekeeper to the Internet

          Wait, what? You can't browse the Internet on an iPhone without using Apple's browser and they make sure not to allow any competition. They force you to use their store where ads is one of their biggest money maker, and they have absolutely no interpretability with any other OS. They hold users hostages to their ecosystem and they sell access to them to the highest bidder for $20B per year.

          1. Blackjack Silver badge

            Re: Pot... Kettle...

            On mobile Apple you use their Web Browser with a fancy skin to pretend it is something else or you use the default one, that's it.

            https://opensource.apple.com/projects/webkit/

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    They all just want your every data

    All of it, 24/7, 365.

    From birth to death and even after you depart.

    They could at least be honest about it.

  5. Criminny Rickets

    The slides are even evidence in Googles favour. It said Apple went with Goggle as their default search engine as they felt Google was the better search engine. So could it be that the only thing (in this particular case) Google is guilty of is making a good search engine.

    1. abend0c4

      It could be, but other evidence has been published which suggested that Google's payments to Apple occurred in a context in which Google was very keen than Apple should not attempt to make a better one.And, of course, it's not just about search technology - that's part of a symbiotic/parasitic relationship with the advertising business that funds it. There is also an allegation that Google's iron grip on the advertising market is also a competitive obstacle.

      The court's decision won't simply affect Google (positively or negatively), it will set a legal benchmark for acceptable business practice. Or it will eventually - whatever the outcome it's the kind of case that's likely to be appealed.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        There's a bit more to this. For Google's strategy to work it needs access to everything and everyone. They can't have large chunks of the population dark to them.

        Apple's in the same boat but also a junior partner. Applications like Safari and iTunes have been available on non-Apple platforms but they haven't got a whole lot of traction outside the Apple ecosystem.

        As for Google/Android etc. being a "Massive Tracking Device" the obvious question is "What took you so long to figure this out?". Its an extension of the old saw that "If the product is free then you are the product".

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          "Apple's in the same boat but also a junior partner. Applications like Safari and iTunes have been available on non-Apple platforms but they haven't got a whole lot of traction outside the Apple ecosystem."

          Not been the case with Safari for a long time - there was a Windows version which was killed off at least a decade ago (it was actually not bad). iTunes for Windows is still available but they clearly have little interest in it and it's had no major changes for years.

          Don't think either have ever been available for Android - there's a streaming Apple Music app but that's about it.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          I would agree with you in some ways however what is consumed on all these devices by most users is the issue.

          Primarily it is content from major platforms that track everything.

      2. JoeCool Bronze badge

        You need to up those reading skills

        the quote is "(no) valid alternative"

    2. Wade Burchette

      Google to Apple: "Here is $18,000,000,000. Now make Google the default search engine for iphone."

      Apple to Google: "I guess you really are the best search engine after all!"

      'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.' -- Upton Sinclair

    3. Blackjack Silver badge

      Money dear boy.

      https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2023/10/doj-grilled-sundar-pichai-on-very-valuable-default-deals-deleted-chats/

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    From a purely business prospective it makes total sense for Apple to accept the several $bn from Alphabet to have Google as the default search. As if Apple wanted to develop their own search engine it would cost them money to develop and would probably take years before they would be seeing anything like $20bn a year profit from their own efforts.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Or not have a baked in default?

      1. hbko

        Remember how Windows was asking which browser to use?

        Not sure folks who aren't "in the know" of current FAANGM politics can make an informed decision about search engines or even understand what is it that's being asked of them and why.

  7. Wade Burchette

    The creepy line

    "Google's policy is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it."

    Well, that was the old Google policy under Eric Schmidt. The new Google policy is to smash right through the creepy line and dare you to do something about it.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "because there wasn't a valid alternative engine"

    I suppose the rivalry between Apple & Microsoft made a bung impossible Bing invalid.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      And Bing was shit compated to Google

    2. v13

      Who in their right mind would prefer to use Bing?

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Trollface

        well, Bing in an enterprise context has the ability to perform a search on all your SharePoint Online data, something that Google didn't pay MS to be able to do...

  9. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "Thing is, Apple talks about its love of privacy safeguards and how much it thinks Google is a fiend with people's data, but take a look at how it operates in reality."

    El Reg can slag off Apple as much as they like (and ohboy do they like) but Apple's investment in privacy and security of user data puts the majority of other companies to utter shame.

    There's nothing altruistic about this; the motive is profit, pure and simple.

    Reason #1: Apple mines their own user data to cross- and upsell other products from within the Apple ecosystem. Keeping this data secure and private means they are the only company that is able to do this. It is incredibly valuable for this purpose, and this value would be drastically reduced if other companies had access to it and as a result were able to better target their own products. Apple would effectively be enriching their competitors.

    Reason #2: Apple uses data privacy and security as a major competitive differentiator - maybe their only real competitive differentiator. If user data were leaked, or Apple were found to be dealing in user data despite their stance, customers would desert them in droves. Not Chastity and D'Shawnay who want the cheapest device they can get on contract, don't care about privacy and don't spend any money anyway; Apple couldn't give two hoots about them. No - the customers who would desert them are the major companies and government institutions who pay Apple billion$ to get this peace of mind.

  10. oreosRnice

    We all know google is slimy. Apple just wears a glove and tried to dip its fingers.

    None of this is new. Just more receipts proving the same thing

  11. Groo The Wanderer Bronze badge

    Massive tracking device versus massive lock in and rip-off prices; there is no winning for the consumer.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Rip of prices, yes and no.

      Initial price is high, but so is the resale price.

      My iPad Mini 4 from 2016 has a higher resale than my mum's Android 10" tablet from 2021.

      1. Groo The Wanderer Bronze badge

        I don't buy devices with the intent of selling them.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          "I don't buy devices with the intent of selling them."

          Good for you. So?

      2. Alumoi Silver badge

        Your mum's tablet could be rooted, flashed with a decent Android version and used until it breaks.

        Your ipad?

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          It's increasingly difficult to root a lot of Android devices these days - they want you to throw it away and buy another one!

  12. Fursty Ferret

    I use an iPhone while occasionally gazing jealously at the old featherweight Pixel 5 that sits on the shelf. However, the fact that iOS lets you block intrusive ads in Safari is enough to keep me there. The difference is stark if you open a page in Chrome via the Google Discover feed - mobile browsing is pretty much unusable anywhere without ad-blocking these days.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      I have to use Android, but using Chrome as well would be a step too far!

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      But don't forget that unlike iOs, Android lets you install a non-Google browser. Several of the alternatives either have ad-blocking baked in, or have plugins to do it.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      It’s really not. You’re not linking articles because you can’t link articles.

  14. WarpedTrekker

    Apple worked with AT&T and Fed's to track people. Well known.

    Apple can't talk smack. They had a locked in agreement with AT&T for their iphone's for years. It is quite known that AT&T works with the Fed's and FBI to track calls and people with iphones. Lots of stories going back on this matter. AT&T, do you want to tell people why you have top secret server rooms that are locked up in cages, and why fiber is being split to run to those servers? Happen to be tracking people's internet activities as well?

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Apple worked with AT&T and Fed's to track people. Well known.

      Is there a shortage of tinfoil in your area?

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