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THE INC. LIFE

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Quit Facebook, and Then Made This Smart Move

If you’re about to make global news, why not use that spotlight to your company’s advantage?

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BY Gael Cooper - 11 Apr 2018

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Quit Facebook, and Then Made This Smart Move

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Don't plan on friending Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak on Facebook any time soon. On Sunday, the computer pioneer and tech entrepreneur said he was quitting the social-media service, which admitted recently that its system could have allowed "malicious actors" to gather data on most of its 2 billion users.

"Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and ... Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this," Wozniak told USA Today on Sunday. "The profits are all based on the user's info, but the users get none of the profits back."

Woz has a point -- the Cambridge Analytica scandal (here's the quick explanation of what that is) has damaged Facebook's reputation even more than it already was. And when someone as legendary as Wozniak publicly announces he's fleeing the service, millions of other Facebook users are bound to take note.

But Wozniak didn't just dump on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. and leave it at that. He went on to praise the computer company he and the late Steve Jobs, along with Ronald Wayne, founded in 1976.

"Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you," Wozniak told the newspaper. "As they say, with Facebook, you are the product."

Apple's had its share of problems (Wozniak left in 1985), but it was smart of him to blend his Facebook news with a comparison where Apple comes out on top. Wozniak's no dummy -- he had to know his declaration would be covered wall-to-wall by the tech and global press. By hitching a compliment for Apple to his "farewell, Facebook" revelation, he reminded readers that wherever Apple has slipped up (a $1000 phone?), they still haven't leaked Grandma's personal data to a company with its eye on influencing the United States presidential election.

And while Wozniak famously gave many of his own pre-IPO Apple stock options to fellow employees, he's noted on his own site that he remains an Apple employee to this day, and feels he represents the company when he makes appearances or gives interviews. In short: While he certainly doesn't have to worry about money, it's good for him when Apple succeeds.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a similar point in March. When asked what he'd do in Zuckerberg's unenviable position, Cook bluntly said, ""I wouldn't be in this situation."

 

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