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Apple called Android a "massive tracking device" in an internal presentation

The presentation was made public by the Department of Justice as an exhibit in the Google antitrust trial.

Published onNovember 2, 2023

Apple internal presentation Google Anti trust trial
  • Apple’s internal presentation from 2013 is part of new exhibits posted by the Department of Justice in the ongoing Google antitrust trial.
  • The presentation condemns Google’s privacy practices and how it handles user data.
  • One of the slides is dedicated to calling out Android as a “massive tracking device.”

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has posted new exhibits from the ongoing Google antitrust trial. One of those exhibits is an internal presentation attached to an email sent by Apple’s Eddy Cue to Tim Cook in 2013 detailing how the company competes with Google on privacy. The biggest highlight from that email is a single slide that says — “Android is a massive tracking device.”

In another slide, Apple’s deck explains how its approach to privacy is better than that of Google. The company says it combines data across services only when it provides a better customer experience, while Google combines data across all services. Other examples include how Google’s voice search is tied to a user’s Google account, while Siri’s user data is only tied to the digital assistant.

Apple internal presentation Google Anti trust trial 2

The presentation was part of Apple SVP Eddy Cue’s testimony in the Google antitrust trial in September. The DOJ has accused Google of monopolizing the search engine market by cutting exclusive deals with device manufacturers to become the default search engine on their products. It was previously reported that Google could be paying Apple anywhere between $18-$20 billion a year to remain the dominant search engine on the iPhone.

In September, Cue was questioned by the DOJ about the revenue-sharing agreement between Apple and Google. Most of his testimony on the day was hidden in a sealed courtroom. This exhibit showing Apple’s presentation from 2013 was part of that testimony and has only now been made public.

Google Anti trust trial email apple data exchange

Ironically, despite Apple describing Android as a massive tracking device, an internal Google email from 2016 about Apple and Google’s deal shows how Apple wanted data sharing with Google to be reciprocal. In the email, the Google exec notes that they told Apple that Google doesn’t share information about what users click on in Google Search. However, a reply to that email includes a redacted data exchange proposal, raising questions about what user data Google could be sharing with Apple.

(h/t Jason Kint for spotting the exhibits)

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