Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Antitrust Investigation, Trump Relationship, Working From Home and More in Interview
Apple CEO Tim Cook this evening spoke at The Atlantic Festival where he discussed privacy, antitrust issues, remote work, and his relationship with United States President Donald Trump.
On the topic of the ongoing U.S. antitrust investigation into Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, Cook said that "big companies deserve scrutiny," something that's "fair but important" for the American government. He said he has "no issue" with Apple being investigated, and that he hopes people will ultimately hear Apple's story and come to see that the company is not a monopoly.
I think that big companies deserve scrutiny. And I think that's not only fair but important for the system that we have in America. And so I have no issue at all in Apple being put underneath the microscope and people looking and probing. My hope is that as people heard our story and as they continue to hear our story that it will become as apparent to them as it is to us that we have no monopoly. There is no monopoly here.
We're in very, very competitive markets like smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets and personal computers. These things are fiercely competitive. They're basically street fights for market share. Our core strategy as a company to make the best not the most... that basic strategy will never produce a monopoly. It's very rare, almost impossible for the best to become the most as well. Somebody will choose a commodity product and there's enough people that will buy the commodity product that it will have more share. And that's true in all of the different fields we're in.
I'm hoping people heard that and heard how we conduct ourselves because this is very important to us. We always do what we believe is right and conduct ourselves with the utmost integrity and professionalism. I hope that that came across and that we can unpeel from this investigation.
On his relationship with Trump and what it's like interacting with the President, Cook said that he views the specific conversations he's had with Trump as "private conversations" and wouldn't get into what's been discussed, but he did reiterate something he's said several times before: that it's better to be involved than not to be part of the conversation.
I believe that it's much better to be involved, whether you're in agreement on an issue or I think it's even more important to engage when you disagree on something. And so what we do at Apple is we focus on policy. We don't focus on the politics. And so it keeps us out of the sort of the daily scrum of politics and keeps us very focused on the things that are very important to us.
As for the shift to working from home for many Apple employees, Cook said "it's not like being together physically" and that he can't wait for "everybody to be able to come back," confirming that Apple is not going to be one of those companies that lets employees work from home long term.
Cook did, however, say that "some things" work really well virtually, and so that things aren't going to return to just how they were.
In all candor, it's not like being together physically. And so I can't wait for everybody to be able to come back into the office. I don't believe that we'll return to the way we were, because we found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually. But things like creativity and the serendipity that you talk about, these things, you depend on people kind of running into each other over the course of a day. We have designed our entire office such that there are common areas where people congregate and talk about different things. And you can't schedule those times.
And so I think the vast majority of us can't wait until we can be back in the office again. You know, hopefully that occurs sometime next year, who knows exactly what the date may be. We've got about 10-15 percent working today in the office. I'm in the office at different points during the week as well, but the vast majority, 85 to 90 percent of the company is still working remotely.
Cook's full interview, which also goes into detail on Apple's view of how the United States has responded to COVID-19, climate change and the California wildfires, privacy, international policy, his future plans, and more can be watched through the YouTube video up above from The Atlantic.
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Top Rated Comments
Tim: "We always think of the user first..."
That was one HELL of a swerve, Tim.
Interviewer: "There are serious concerns of U.S. detention camps at the borders including forced hysterectomies performed. Also, the State of California uses forced prison labor to fight wildfires in the area surrounding Apple Park."
Tim Cook: I'm a CEO of a tech giant.
INTERVIEWER: No, I said China.
TIM: Oh, yes, we care about humanity.