Trust with the user is the heart of Apple’s business model. It’s what distinguishes it from Silicon Valley upstarts like Google and Facebook whose “free” business models are based on the sale of digital advertising. As Tim Cook wrote last September about companies like Facebook and Google, “when an online service is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”


No wonder, then, that Apple has responded so dramatically to the FBI demands. That moral outrage coming out of Cupertino is actually an existential cry. The destruction of encryption potentially turns all Apple customers into the product of an all-seeing state. But in contrast to Google and Facebook, Apple can’t reinvent its business model around surveillance. Even Steve Jobs, who could sell almost anything to anyone, would have struggled to monetize this relationship with America’s leading law enforcement agency.

Andrew Keen, “Why Do We Trust a Corporation More than the Govenrment?’