Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly asked his employees to stop using iPhones and switch to Android devices. The order from the Facebook CEO reportedly came after Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly criticized the social networking giant over user privacy.
Does Facebook CEO hold a grudge against Cook?
In an interview with MSNBC in March, Tim Cook criticized Facebook for being a service which traffics “in your personal life.” The comments came in reference to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The digital consultancy, which was hired to aid President Trump’s 2016 campaign, was accused of improperly mining the personal details of 87 million Facebook users.
In the interview, Cook was asked what he would do to deal with the Cambridge Analytica scandal if he were in Zuckerberg’s shoes.
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To this, the Apple CEO replied, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
At the time, Zuckerberg responded in an interview with Recode, saying that Cook’s comments were “extremely glib.”
Criticizing the premium Apple charges for its devices, Zuckerberg said, “I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”
Now The New York Times reports that the Facebook CEO continues to hold a grudge against Cook after that war of words. That grudge reportedly pushed Zuckerberg to ask his management team to use only Android devices. The New York Times also claims Zuckerberg hired a public affairs company to write and publish negative articles about Apple.
Personal or business decision?
Zuckerberg’s reason for switching to Android was supposedly because the operating system is more widely used than iOS around the world. Quarrel aside, the Facebook CEO’s preference for Android can be seen purely as a business decision as well. Google’s Android is popular in many large regions, like Russia, South Asia, parts of the Middle East, South America and Europe.
Since Android devices are more popular globally while tech workers in the U.S. use them less, it sort of creates a gap when working on apps. iOS and Android are two different ecosystems, so this might hinder app development and user experiences. In addition to Facebook, Snap also encourages its workers to use Android phones.
As of now, it is not clear if Facebook’s management team has indeed switched to Android phones, but a check by The Verge on key Facebook employees’ Twitter activities, including blockchain lead David Marcus and AR and VR Vice President Andrew Bosworth, revealed they are still using iPhones.
Mark Zuckerberg vs. Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO has been quite vocal about privacy concerns. On many occasions, Cook has talked about data concerns associated with use of social media and other free online services. In the MSNBC interview, Cook even claimed that Apple always prioritizes privacy over profit.
“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer – if our customer was our product,” Cook said. “We’ve elected not to do that.”
The verbal wars between Cook and Zuckerberg are not new, as they go back a few years. In an interview in 2014, Cook noted that if an online service is free, then its users are the product rather than customers.
At the time, Zuckerberg fired back as well, saying companies like Apple don’t care much about customers’ interests. Further, the Facebook CEO said if such companies truly cared about their users, then they would make their devices affordable to all.
Employee morale takes a hit
Facebook has had a tough few years because of the controversies over user data it has been involved in. Due to such controversies, Facebook employee morale is reportedly down. Facebook’s biannual survey (via The Wall Street Journal) found that only 52% of employees are optimistic about the company’s future, a dramatic decline from 84% last year.
Further, the survey found that 70% of employees were proud to work at Facebook, a drop from 87% last year. Employee commitment has also dropped. On average, the employees said they plan to stay with the social networking giant for another 3.9 years, compared to 4.3 years last year.
According to the WSJ, in his early November Q&A with employees, Zuckerberg said the company is working to address the concerns raised by the survey.