Steve Jobs Angry at Analytics Firms Tracking Apple Devices

Flurry Analytics backs off as Apple’s CEO boasts, “What the hell?!”

By on June 3rd, 2010 09:55 GMT
A noticeably angry Steve Jobs said Apple was “really naive” about what kind of data analytics firms were collecting, following the interview with the Wall Street Journal at the All Things D conference this week. It had come to the CEO’s knowledge that an analytics firm was identifying prototype hardware being tested privately on Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus, making the information available to the public, he said.

During the Q&A at D8 on Tuesday, Steve Jobs boasted, “What the [expletive]?!” when talking about Flurry Analytics’ aforementioned practices. Apple’s CEO used simple words to explain just how Flurry was able to do this, saying it had gotten developers to implement Flurry’s software in their apps, software that sent back information about the devices using the apps, their geo-location, and so on, to the analytics firm.

“It’s violating every rule of our privacy policy with our developers,” Apple’s Steve Jobs said in a very loud tone. “We went through the roof about this,” he added, according to a video clip featuring the CEO’s speech. After stressing for a good two minutes on the matter, Jobs revealed that his company might be willing to ease off a bit, and enter talks with these analytics firms about using such data to benefit the developer. “After we calm down from being pissed off, then we're willing to talk to some of these analytics firms,” he said. “But it's not today,” Jobs added.

Flurry unsurprisingly responded, following the press event, by stating that it had been taking steps to address privacy concerns, and that it had communicated the changes back to Apple. “Regarding sharing some specific aggregated usage statistics, to which Apple is opposed, we will comply with their wishes,” Flurry's Vice President of Marketing, Peter Farago, told AppleInsider. “Our goal continues to be to add value to the developer ecosystem and be a strong partner to platform providers.”

Farago also said Flurry was updating its analytics service to comply with section 3.3.9 of the latest iPhone OS developer agreement, adding, “We will not collect device data.” “All in all, the changes required to be in compliance will have little impact on the usefulness we provide to developers about how to improve their applications, and how to continue to increase consumer satisfaction.”

It was Farago himself who, in January 2010, revealed to Computerworld that Flurry had identified approximately 50 devices that matched the characteristics of Apple's rumored tablet device throughout the entire time it had tracked iPhone apps. The devices Apple was testing on its campus were tablets running iPhone OS 3.2 , Farago had said. His firm had been able to obtain details about the actual applications being run on the devices, Softpedia reported at the time (full story here).


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