The CEO of Facebook sees a “ significant competitive overlap ” with the iPhone maker on private messaging and augmented reality glasses.
Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he sees Apple Inc. as a “significant” future competitor as the two companies begin to develop competing lines of business.
Zuckerberg discussed Facebook’s major product areas on a fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, and said he expects a “very significant competitive overlap” with the iPhone maker on several of them. them, including private messaging and augmented reality glasses. He criticized Apple’s iMessage, suggesting it offered weaker privacy than Facebook’s WhatsApp, and implied that iMessage’s dominance in the US market was the result of unfair advantages provided by Apple.
“IMessage is the most popular service in the US I think because they pre-install it and give their app a number of benefits that other apps don’t have,” Zuckerberg said.
The CEO also said that Facebook and Apple are likely to become direct rivals on the “next computing platform,” referring to virtual and augmented reality headsets. Facebook already offers VR headsets from its Oculus unit, and the two companies are building AR glasses. “I think we would expect to see them more as competitors there as well,” he added.
Facebook has attacked Apple in recent months, mainly over expected changes to Apple’s iOS 14 mobile software, which will make it harder for the social network to track users and show them ads based on their past online activity. Apple has said it is making the decision to protect user privacy, and Facebook has argued that the acceptance requirement will hurt small businesses that depend on targeted advertising for sales. Facebook told analysts on Wednesday that changes to iOS could dampen its revenue growth.
“Apple can say they are doing this to help people, but the movements are clearly following their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg said.
The threat to revenue growth from Apple’s changes to iOS was part of a larger warning from Facebook of “significant uncertainty” for its business through 2021. The Menlo Park, Calif., Based company, said sales gains could slow in the second half of the year due to pandemic lockdowns – and the accompanying growth in traffic and ad revenue – facilitated.
For now, the company is still enjoying a surge in online shopping and digital advertising during the Covid-19 crisis. Facebook reported that fourth-quarter sales jumped 33 percent to $ 28.1 billion, and average monthly users of its flagship site reached 2.8 billion.
Apple also reported quarterly results on Wednesday, with revenue up 21% to $ 111.4 billion, powered by the iPhone 12.