Tim Cook telling Zuck to delete user data is the most Jobsian thing ever

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

News broke yesterday that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly told his Facebook counterpart, Mark Zuckerberg, that the social network should delete all of the data it has collected on users from third-party apps. The suggestion was about as well-received as you might expect it to be.

From the New York Times:

At the meeting, Mr. Zuckerberg asked Mr. Cook how he would handle the fallout from the controversy, people with knowledge of the conversation said. Mr. Cook responded acidly that Facebook should delete any information that it had collected about people outside of its core apps.

And the outcome:

Mr. Zuckerberg was stunned, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Facebook depends on data about its users to target them with online ads and to make money. By urging Facebook to stop gathering that information, Mr. Cook was in effect telling Mr. Zuckerberg that his business was untenable. He ignored Mr. Cook's advice.

All of this really does sound like something an Apple CEO would do, doesn't it? Except, not this one. Not Tim Cook. This all feels like something co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs would come up with.

Lest we forget the infamous Steve Jobs Thoughts on Flash letter that was posted to Apple.com more than ten years ago.

Jobs also had a reputation for upsetting people on a whim. He went after people in interviews, in elevators, and undoubtedly in meetings with other company heads. None of that sounds like something Tim Cook might do, at least not with the regularity Jobs was famous for. Although plenty know Cook better than I, this story feels like something from ten years ago – not 2019!

If anything, it's perhaps an indication that Apple and Cook's stance on privacy is more than a cynical marketing ploy, as some have suggested. Both CEO and company seem to feel very strongly that privacy is a human right and neither will dance around that subject.

Even when it means putting Mark Zuckerberg on blast. Good on them!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.