Apple chief Tim Cook is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to establish "a data-­broker clearinghouse" that would enable consumers to track their data as it moves from company to company.

January 17, 2019 | Hollywood


Good morning. Bob Costas, a fixture in American sports and the American living room for nearly four decades, tells the New York Post he has formally parted ways with NBC.


• My colleague Tom Brokaw emails: "Bob Costas leaving NBC is as if his hero Mickey Mantle left the Yankees. He may no longer be in the lineup but his legendary career will never die. He had the best job in broadcasting for a simple reason — he was the best."


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Tim Cook seeks FTC action


Moving the Market: Apple chief Tim Cook is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to establish "a data-­broker clearinghouse" that would enable consumers to track their data as it moves from company to company.


The Big Picture: This is Cook's most aggressive call for federal action on data privacy to date. It is also another shot at rivals like Facebook and Google that have left user data vulnerable to third parties.


Cook, in Time Magazine:


• "We believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-­broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all."


Cook to Congress: The Apple chief is also reiterating his call from October for Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy ­legislation based on four principles:


• "The right to have personal data minimized."


• "The right to ­knowledge ... to know what data is being collected and why."


• "The right to access ... correct and delete your personal data."


• "The right to data security."


What's Next: Lawmakers are expected to introduce multiple bills that grant the FTC varying degrees of authority to write the rules on privacy regulation. (Under current laws, the FTC can only enforce existing rules).


• To wit, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a data privacy bill yesterday, but his would only give the FTC the ability to write the rules if Congress does not pass its own legislation within two years.


Meanwhile, back in Cupertino: Cook has informed staff that Apple "will cut back on hiring for some divisions after selling fewer iPhones than expected and missing its revenue forecast for the holiday quarter," per Bloomberg.

What Silicon Valley is reading ... The new issue of Time (now owned by outspoken Facebook critic Marc Benioff) also features an excerpt from Roger McNamee's new book, "Zucked," in which Zuckerberg's former mentor explains why he has since devoted himself "to stopping Facebook from destroying our democracy."


• An early copy of "Zucked" showed up on my doorstep yesterday. I'll let you know if I come across anything of interest.



The next front in Cook vs. Zuck


The Apple vs. Facebook war, which has largely played out in public barbs over data privacy, has found a new front in messaging, where the two companies are vying for customer loyalty.


The Information's Sarah Kuranda:


• "The fight over messaging is an important one for Apple and Facebook, which, for the most part, play in separate corners of the tech industry: devices and social media."


• "For each ... messaging has become a highly sticky application that keeps users loyal to their respective platforms."


• "Both companies have recently hit speed bumps in their core businesses: Apple earlier this month cut its revenue forecast because of slowing iPhone sales, while Facebook has seen ad revenue growth slow and been battered by a series of privacy scandals."


The Scoreboard: "Globally, Facebook’s messaging footprint — including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram — is larger than Apple’s. But in the U.S. and other developed markets where users are more valuable because they generate more revenue, Apple and Facebook are closer rivals."


Zuck on Facebook's most recent earnings call: “Our biggest competitor by far is iMessage, and in important countries like the U.S. where the iPhone is strong, Apple bundles iMessage as a default texting app and it is still ahead."

📝 Rally the Market 📝


Big on the Twitter: FiveThirtyEight's Maggie Koerth-Baker and Julia Wolfe have a new personality quiz that's blowing up my Twitter feed.


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John Legere checks in to Trump DC


T-Mobile chief John Legere needs Trump administration approval for his merger with Sprint — which is why his repeated stays at the Trump International Hotel in Washington have drawn the attention of the Washington Post's Jonathan O'Connell and David Fahrenthold:


• "T-Mobile executives have returned to President Trump’s hotel repeatedly since ... last April, [when they] announced... the $26 billion merger."


• "By mid-June, seven weeks after the announcement of the merger, hotel records indicated that one T-Mobile executive was making his 10th visit to the hotel. Legere appears to have made at least four visits to the Trump hotel, walking the lobby in his T-Mobile gear."


What says Legere?


• "Wow - A lot of attention on where I choose to stay in DC. I’ve said many times that I respect this process and am working to get our merger done the right way. I trust regulators will make their decision based on the benefits it will bring to the US, not based on hotel choices."


The Big Picture, via O'Connell and Fahrenthold: "These visits highlight a stark reality in Washington, unprecedented in modern American history. ... Countries, interest groups and companies such as T-Mobile — whose future will be shaped by the administration’s choices — are free to ... pay the president’s company while also meeting with officials in his government."

Market Links


Reed Hastings reports Netflix earnings after the bell (Variety)


John Skipper wants to create a Netflix of sports (Bloomberg)


David Haskell will replace Adam Moss at 'New York' (NYT)


Howard Milstein's 'Golf' offers a rare success story (PRN)


Jay Sures continues to poach from rival agencies (Variety)


Michael Cohen/Getty

Why Tim Stone left Snap


Snap CFO Tim Stone has become the latest in a long line of executives to leave the social media company, as I noted yesterday.


Bloomberg's Sarah Frier now has the scoop on why:


• "Stone went around Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel to ask Snap’s board directly for a significant raise. The incident sparked tension between the two, resulting in Stone’s departure."


• "Stone also asked to be promoted into a chief operating officer-type role ... Spiegel instead hired two outsiders."


Frier tweets: "This is a risky move anywhere, but especially at a company where the founders have the majority voting control..."


... to which Cheddar's Alex Heath  replies: "What would even be the point of asking the board when they can’t actually make the decision?"



The new smartphone politics


The future of political rhetoric is handheld and streaming, as evidenced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Beto O'Rourke live-streaming from their kitchens on Instagram.


The Atlantic's Derek Thompson  tells us what it means:


• "Politicians pressing the record button as they futz about the kitchen might seem like a pitiful degradation of political communication ... But as silly as it sounds, the rise of live-streams and clapback memes is just the latest step in the long evolution of political speech."


• "In the past century, such speech has become ever more casual as it has migrated from soapboxes to smartphones. Politicians who have mastered the patois of new platforms have consistently held an advantage over opponents who failed to appreciate the power of those technologies."


The Big Picture: "Politics is downstream from culture, and political culture is downstream from media technology. The way the public consumes political speech affects the substance of the speech."


What's Next: "As the performance of honesty becomes more central to campaigning and governance, it could magnify already unhealthy debates over authenticity."

Speaking of smartphone politics ... here's Cardi B on the government shutdown. (NSFW)


+ Dept of Clarification: In yesterday's newsletter, I cited William D. Cohan's piece on Maria Bartiromo's turn to Trump apologist. I should've noted that Cohan is a contributor at CNBC, a Fox Business competitor.


See you tomorrow.


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