Enlarge / This is Tim Cook’s unimpressed face. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Uber’s misfortune continues.
In a profile on CEO Travis Kalanick published yesterday, the New York Times says that the Uber CEO was called into Apple for a private meeting with CEO Tim Cook. Kalanick had directed Uber’s developers to break Apple’s App Store rules—he wanted the Uber app to collect unique hardware data about every iPhone it was installed on, something Apple’s App Store rules doesn’t allow.
To obscure this from Apple’s App Review team, Kalanick asked his engineers to make it so that the app wouldn’t collect that data from anyone at Apple’s headquarters.
This was eventually noticed by Apple engineers working off-campus, prompting the meeting with Cook.
Cook told Kalanick to stop collecting the data or face ejection from the App Store, cutting it off from a wide swath of its user base. Kalanick agreed.
The report isn’t clear on what data, exactly, Uber was collecting, but sleuthing from developer and security researcher Will Strafach found that a 2014-era build of the Uber app was grabbing serial numbers from every iPhone it was installed on. The meeting between Kalanick and Cook apparently happened at some point in 2015.
As of iOS 10, it’s no longer possible for apps to reach outside of their sandbox to access this information (Apple also prohibited apps from grabbing devices’ longer Unique Device Identifier, or UDID, back in 2012).
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