Why the Facebook controversy could be good for Apple

As tech companies like Facebook Inc. come under fire for their data-privacy practices, Apple Inc. has one big thing working in its favor.

Unlike platform-based companies that sell consumer data to marketers, Apple AAPL, -1.41% guards user information more tightly and instead makes most of its money off hardware sales. That may not always be as profitable as monetizing user info, but it could represent a key “competitive advantage,” according to UBS analyst Steven Milunovich, as Facebook FB, -2.66% and others draw further scrutiny from regulators.

“Monetizing hardware has its advantages in creating trust,” Milunovich wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

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