Tim Cook explains why Apple accepts billions from Google despite privacy concerns

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks in Brussels, on October 24, 2018. 

ARis Oikonomou | AFP | Getty Images
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks in Brussels, on October 24, 2018.

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t name names when he spoke out against the privacy practices of big tech companies during a keynote speech in Brussels last month. But he didn’t have to.

“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them,” Cook said in the October 24 speech. “This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us.”

Those comments were primarily directed at Facebook and Google, the two biggest tech companies that make most of their money from advertising based on user data. Both of those companies have battled a public reckoning over their user privacy practices over the last few years, and that reckoning is far from over.

But that hasn’t stopped Apple from working with the companies it disagrees with. Facebook and Google’s apps are available in Apple’s App Store, for example, and Apple accepts billions of dollars a year from Google so Google can be the default search engine in the Safari web browser.