Mark Zuckerberg says that, when it comes to messaging apps, Apple is Facebook’s “biggest competitor by far.”
That’s because, while apps like Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp have to be purposely installed, iMessage comes pre-installed on every iOS device. And that’s not good news for Facebook.
While messaging apps may be just one part of Facebook’s business, it is a very important part. People send around 100 billion messages every day, and increasingly share photos, links and videos in messages, rather than on social networks. As a result, Facebook is looking at messaging apps to drive its future growth. This means finding some way to challenge the dominance of Apple. Zuck made his comments during Tuesday’s earnings call with investors.
Understandably, Facebook does better in parts of the world where Android is bigger. However, in the U.S. — where iOS is the dominant platform — it is struggling more.
This isn’t the first time Apple and Facebook have been pitted against one another. Earlier this year, Tim Cook was asked what he would do if he was in Facebook’s situation regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which users had their data mined and used for targeted political purposes. “I wouldn’t be in this situation,” Cook replied, coolly.
More recently, Cook spoke out against companies which monetize user data, calling for European-style data protection regulations.
During Tuesday’s earnings call, however, Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s privacy record. “It’s worth noting that one of the main reasons people prefer our services, especially WhatsApp, is because of its stronger record on privacy,” he said. “WhatsApp is completely end-to-end encrypted, does not store your messages, and doesn’t store the keys to your messages in China or anywhere else. And this is important because if our systems can’t see your messages, then that means that governments and bad actors won’t be able to access them through us either.”