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.”
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.
“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.