Apple’s Privacy Paradox

Is Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy a sound company strategy and what limitations might it impose?

Jerry Kim, Sandra Matz, Dan J. Wang  | Spring 2023
Print this page

Apple, inc., the creator of the Macintosh and iPhone has developed a reputation for its staunch stance on user privacy and data protection. Through the iterations of its hardware, Apple has developed increasingly complex encryption technology; it has never waivered in its hardline to protect user data, a position that has at times, been at odds with its competitors and peer tech firms in Silicon Valley. In 2022, one such conflict pitted Apple against another tech giant – Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy in particular, strongly affected installed software like Facebook, even causing app creators to lose ad revenues. However, while the apparent reason is ethical, is there some other profitability-driven purpose behind Apple’s ATT roll out? In this case, students will learn about Apple’s and peer technology company’s position on and usage of customer digital information. They will be tasked with discussing the tradeoff between monetization and protection of private data as well as challenges and benefits.

Case ID: 230407

Buy select cases through The Case Centre,  Ivey Publishing and Harvard Business Publishing.

Contact us by e-mail at Columbia CaseWorks or 212-853-8585.