Do large tech companies really care?
Large tech companies like Facebook, Google and Apple have created products that are a part of everyday life for millions of people, but do those companies really care about customers?
Tech giant vs. tech giant
Sometimes tech companies issue statements that make it seem like their only role is to promote communication and connectivity and that profit is not part of the equation. It is humorous when Facebook, Google and Apple engage in this debate with each other.
Mark Zuckerberg recently fired harsh comments at Apple CEO Tim Cook and told him to make products like the iPhone and iPad cheaper to better connect with his customers, reported The Daily Mail. Facebook's chief executive also expressed irritation with the idea that his social media site, which depends on advertising revenue, does not operate for the benefit of society.
"A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers … I think it's the most ridiculous concept," said Zuckerberg, according to The Daily Mail.
Apple and Google have engaged in debate in the past. Apple executives have commented that because Google is free for its users, the company sees them as a commodity rather than as partners or stakeholders. Google has likewise criticized Apple for being greedy and making products that are overpriced. Mark Zuckerberg made similar comments about Apple, while defending Facebook's business model.
"What, you think because you're paying Apple that you're somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they'd make their products a lot cheaper!" Zuckerberg added.
Cook, who acts as Apple's spokesman in the same way that Steve Jobs did, has sharply criticized rivals over the past few months, and has referred to privacy breaches by Google as something his company would never do, reported engadget. The Apple CEO also called out Facebook for collecting user data to sell to advertisers.
Altruistic social media
Mark Zuckerberg set up Internet.org as a global effort to expand Internet access around the world. In partnership with six telecom companies, the goal is to allow everyone in the world to access the Internet, especially in developing nations. Internet.org gives people who cannot otherwise afford it the ability to be online. Zuckerberg explained that having one billion users is no longer the final goal for the company.
"'We were thinking about the first decade of the company, and what were the next set of big things that we wanted to take on, and we came to this realization that connecting a billion people is an awesome milestone, but there's nothing magical about the number 1 billion," said Zuckerberg, according to The Daily Mail.
It seems that Facebook's CEO is now going after the whole world. With Facebook users growing in number everyday, and with Internet.org being rolled out to developing nations, it might be possible that Zuckerberg will see his goal materialize.
"We feel like this is just an important thing for the world … and there are no steps that are clear steps to make this an awesome business or to have it fully rolled out across the world, but I'm pretty confident we can do it. I'm pretty confident it's going to be a good thing," Zuckerberg added, according to The Daily Mail.
Ultimately, Internet connectivity is a good thing and affording people access to services that are seen as utilities in the developed world is worthy of admiration. However, it is important to remember that profit drives all business. While Google, Apple and Facebook make products that are meant to better our lives, it cannot be forgotten that any action on their part will always be motivated partly by the bottom line.