Apple and Microsoft both are leveraging their privacy policies as marketing tools and competitive advantages.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

October 6, 2015

2 Min Read
Apple, Microsoft Trumpet Privacy Policies as Competitive Advantage

With customer privacy at the top of their priority list, Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) separately have recast their policies for protecting personal user information and offered up their explanations for public consumption.

In articulating how each company regards and handles confidential customer information they have, in effect, positioned their privacy policies as marketing tools and competitive advantages over their rivals who either haven’t gotten around to doing the same, don’t view it as a strategic imperative or simply don’t have much to say about it.

Using privacy policies as a sales tool isn’t new but it is gaining steam. Make no mistake, Apple and Microsoft each gather personal information on customers, and they also have the most to lose from any perceived misuse of it.

To wit, Apple expanded its privacy web site, adding sections and material on a range of Apple services and features offered to users, essentially detailing its policies and providing supporting data.

“We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why,” the vendor said. “We’re going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.”

The vendor touted its privacy policy with new information regarding iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, attempting to distance itself from rivals by mentioning, in particular, that it doesn’t build profiles on customers to peddle to advertisers, in a not so veiled swipe at Google (GOOG).

And, in an NPR interview this week, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the company didn’t gather most user data but instead kept personal, identifying information on the user’s phone.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right,” he said. “If you have an open door in your software, then the bad guys get in there, too,” he said.

Microsoft, for its part, restated its privacy policy in light of Windows 10, making sure that users understood, as is the case with Apple, that the vendor doesn’t target its advertising by prying into users’ communication vehicles.

“We don’t use what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail, or your documents, photos or other personal files to choose which ads to show you,” Microsoft said.

Still, both Apple and Microsoft do collect some customer data. Their new privacy policy statements go to great lengths to explain the nature of the data each collects and how it’s used.

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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