Tim Cook's View of the Apple Philosophy

In the Q&A section of yesterday's earnings conference call, the first question unsurprisingly addressed Steve Jobs' leave of absence and how that would affect the way Apple is being run. Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer noted that Jobs remains CEO and that he will continue to be involved in strategic decisions. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who is overseeing Apple's day-to-day operations during Jobs' absence, then took the opportunity to share his perspective on Apple's company philosophy.

There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call "all wicked smart". And that's in all areas of the company, from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched.

We believe that we're on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that's not changing. We're constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.

Fortune's Adam Lashinsky examines what he is calling the "Cook Doctrine" as a unique look into the mind of Tim Cook, who was previously profiled by Lashinsky as "intensely private" and "demanding and unemotional."

This is fascinating at a number of levels. Some of it is stuff you'd expect from anyone in Apple's senior management. Some ideas have been articulated at Apple for years. But this shows an executive who has given tons of thought to what it means to lead Apple. He couldn't have been clearer that he's in charge, at least for now. It also was a show of strength, as when Cook later threatened Palm (PALM) with patent litigation.

It raised so many questions too. Other than the company's proprietary operating systems, what technologies was Cook referring to? What are some projects Apple has considered and rejected? When has the company been wrong -- and been "self-honest" about it? What's an example of the culture being so embedded that things work, even when Jobs isn't involved?

Lashinsky notes that much of Apple's talent has been overshadowed by Steve Jobs over the years, and it is only now in Jobs' absence that some of these executives will be able to receive significant media exposure, attention that is revealing Cook to be "eloquent, forceful and passionate about Apple."

Top Rated Comments

swingerofbirch Avatar
166 months ago
Regarding the point about self-honesty, I can think of a few times Apple admitted it was wrong(ish). 1) I remember Jobs admitting Apple was late to the CD burning craze with the CRT iMacs and that ripping and burning CDs with iTunes on iMacs would change that. 2) He also admitted that Apple had been negligent in not being more forthcoming about its environmental policies and plans. 3) Apple has been unusually transparent in publicly regarding Apple TV as a hobby, and saying with Take 2 they think they got it right. 4) They had some contrition regarding the MobileMe roll-out. 5) And with the in-ear headphones, I remember Jobs saying the latest iteration "finally got it right."

Regarding articulating their values, I frankly think any of us could have had enough insight to have provided the same information. It's fairly easy to see what Apple's Modus operandi is. They want to do it right and have it just work. They sacrifice abundance for purity. Got it!

I would be more curious to hear the actual audio of his statements about "going after" and "using every weapon available" against companies that steal their IP. Those are very anxious, angry words that seemed to come out of nowhere. My personal opinion is that it can be seen as a sign of weakness to come out fighting like that. Better if possible to do what you need to do but do it quietly. (Not that I myself am able to.)

I think people assume Apple is a paranoid organization, but it starts to become unflattering when that paranoia bubbles to the surface and results in contradictory statements from Jobs and somewhat caustic threats from the new acting head. It's almost as if Apple is more worried that in Steve's absence, Apple won't be strong enough to keep away vultures after its secrets rather than Apple not being led well and coming up with good products in his absence, which is to say that Apple might from the inside think its secrecy is more valuable to shareholders than products and think shareholders value their secrecy equally and need the new leader to be a bulldog to prove their secrecy and cult-like status is intact, essentially that regardless of what products come out of the fortress, the fortress is still impenetrable, and we'll lob out some missiles to keep anyone at bay who thinks otherwise. I realize that might seem far-fetched, but has Apple ever preemptively made attacking statements regarding IP before?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

beats updater

Apple Officially Retires Beats Updater Utility in Favor of Over-the-Air Firmware Updates

Wednesday September 30, 2020 2:30 am PDT by
Apple has officially retired Beats Updater, the software utility that lets users update the firmware of their Beats Wireless headphones, earphones, and speakers. Beats Updater allows users to plug their Beats product directly into the USB port of their computer to check for firmware updates online, but with Apple's growing tendency to deliver over-the-air updates to wireless products via iOS ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...