Tim Cook’s interview: defense of competition; privacy; victory differences; coronavirus
Tim Cook’s interview: defense of competition; privacy; victory differences; coronavirus Apple CEO Tim Cook has been interviewed remotely for the opening night of the Atlantic Festival, talking about the congressional antitrust investigation, privacy, his differences with the Trump administration and how Apple is dealing with the coronavirus blockade.
On antitrust matters, Cook said that big companies like Apple “deserve to be investigated,” but denied that the company has any kind of monopoly …
Asked about his opinion on being called to testify before Congress on antitrust issues, Cook said he had no objection.
I think big business deserves to be examined. And I think that’s not only fair but very important to the system that we have in America. So I have no problem with Apple being put under the microscope and people looking at it and trying it out.
Cook then went on to argue that Apple didn’t have a monopoly, but he turned to devices, which has never been raised as a concern, rather than discussing the App Store.
I hope that as people continue to listen to our story, that it becomes as evident to them as it is to us, that we don’t have a monopoly, there is no monopoly here. We are in very, very competitive markets like smart phones and smart clocks and tablets and personal computers. These things are fiercely competitive.
Basically there are street fights for market share, and our strategy, our main strategy as a company, is to do the best, not the maximum. And that basic strategy will never produce a monopoly because it’s rare, almost impossible, for the best to become the most as well. Some will choose a commodity, and there are enough people who buy the commodity to have a greater share. That’s true in all the different fields we’re in.
I’m hoping that people will listen to that, and that they will listen to how we behave, because it’s very important to us. We always do what we think is right, and we behave with the utmost integrity and professionalism. I hope that this has come out, and that we can put this research aside.
Another big concern of technology companies is, of course, privacy, and Cook was naturally willing to highlight Apple’s position on this - and to note that he saw the potential problems even before most companies or governments had thought about it.
We believe that privacy is a basic human right, a very fundamental human right. And from our point of view, if you look at it from the U.S. perspective, it’s the basis on which other freedoms exist.
But since the founding of Apple, we’ve always been concerned about people’s privacy. Because we saw the day, not exactly how it developed, but we saw that the digital world had the capacity to destroy privacy. And that’s why I know we’ve been on an island a little bit. There are more people coming to the island, which makes me very happy, but we have made a different set of decisions than other companies.
Cook was also asked about the forest fires in California, and whether that had helped change Trump’s view of the threat of climate change. Apple’s CEO didn’t answer the question, but repeated his opinion that it’s always better to get involved.
I think it’s much better to be involved, whether you agree on an issue or I think it’s even more important to be involved when you disagree on something. So what we do at Apple is focus on politics. We don’t focus on politics. And that keeps us out of the day-to-day kind of scrum of politics and keeps us very focused on the things that are very important to us.
He says the environment is “very important” to Apple, as is DACA, the Deferred Action for Children’s Arrival. This is an Obama immigration policy that provides a route for a work permit for those who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children, and who have lived their entire adult lives in the country. Trump has been trying to eliminate DACA, which has been
He says the environment is “very important” to Apple, as is DACA, the Deferred Action for Children’s Arrival. This is an Obama immigration policy that provides a route for a work permit for those who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children, and who have lived their entire adult lives in the country. Trump has been trying to eliminate DACA, which triggered opposition from Apple and other technology companies with DACA employees, as well as multiple lawsuits.
DACA is very important to us. We have over 400 employees who are in the company and are here at DACA. And my point of view is pretty simple on this, is that they are as American as I am. And I want to see them taken care of and I would like to see this cloud rise over them.
On the coronavirus crisis, Cook said Apple was a very collaborative company, so he wanted to get most people back into the office, but he said some things would still be done virtually.
To be honest, it’s not like being together physically. So I can’t wait for everyone to get back to the office.
So I don’t think we’ll go back to the way we were, because we found out that some things work very well in practice. But things like the creativity and the randomness that you talk about, these things, depend on people kind of meeting each other in the course of a day.
We design our whole office so that there are common areas where people meet and talk about different things. Also, you can’t schedule those times. So I think the vast majority of us can’t wait until we can get back to the office. You know, hopefully that will happen sometime next year, who knows exactly what the date might be.