Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage during an Apple event in September 2018.
With the big change in Apple's app tracking policy just around the corner, Chinese companies warned Cupertino that their efforts to circumvent the change will not be successful. At the same time, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg seemed to be postponing his news of the change.
A few months ago, Apple announced that users would need to be signed up for IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), a tool that advertisers can use to identify and track users across apps and websites. When users log in, it will continue as usual. However, if they decline, the app in question will not be able to use this tracking method. The change will apply to all iPhone and iPad apps and will take effect in iOS 14.5, which will be released in the next few weeks.
ByteDance, Baidu and others are pushing back
Press coverage of the change so far has focused on US and European countries grappling with the change, particularly Facebook, which was running ads and examining the possibility of an antitrust litigation to combat Apple's decision. Several reports in the past few days have shown that some major Chinese tech companies are no less determined to oppose or circumvent Apple's new policies.
Baidu, Tencent, and ByteDance are among the Chinese tech companies looking for workarounds. Bloomberg reports that despite Apple's policies, including fingerprints, "which use device-specific information like IMEI number and location to create a unique identifier," these companies have been looking for several ways to collect data and track users. They are also testing a system called CAID. Developed by a government think tank and the China Advertising Association, this system can "be used as a substitute when the user's IDFA is not available".
The company's efforts led Apple to issue a statement clarifying that the upcoming changes would apply to all apps from companies around the world, not just those developed and maintained in the US:
The App Store Terms and Policies apply equally to all developers around the world, including Apple. We strongly believe that users should be asked for their permission before tracking. Apps found to ignore the user's choice will be rejected.
However, the actions of these companies threaten to put Apple in a difficult position. China accounts for at least 15 percent of Apple's business. While it's too early to make absolute predictions, and it depends on the role the Chinese government is playing here, it's plausible that this situation could escalate to a point where Apple would have to make a decision to move on Do business or change course, have specific ad tracking rules for this country that are different from those in other regions.
Zuckerberg changes the melody
In a clubhouse chat on Thursday, Zuckerberg was more positive about Facebook's ability to succeed with the upcoming change. "We'll be in a good position," he said. "We will make it."
Facebook previously ran full-page newspaper ads suggesting the Apple change could kill countless small businesses, and Facebook CFO David Wehner noted last year that the change caused the Audience Network's lucrative advertising business to decline by 50%. would lead.
Zuckerberg also took an aggressive initial stance on the change in the company's most recent quarterly earnings call, and The Information reported that it was working with a legal advisor to draft an antitrust case against Apple to combat the policy change.
But yesterday Zuckerberg went so far as to say:
It's possible that we're in an even stronger position if Apple's changes encourage more companies to do more trade on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data to find the customers who want theirs Want to use products outside of our platforms.
Although the news is different, the company's planned actions don't seem to change. Apple will continue to require Facebook's apps to ask users for permission to track them, and Facebook continues to plan to approve the change so it can continue to make its apps and services available to iOS users.