In a brand new interview with The Atlantic, Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about a wide range of issues with The Atlantic‘s Editor-In-Chief Jeffrey Mark Goldberg. The interview conducted virtually, with Mr. Cook at Apple Park mainly touched based on COVID19 and Apple’s response to it.
Apple’s Response to COVID19
Mr. Cook refused to answer directly on his view on the American response to the pandemic, but does say that when it struck, Apple looked itself in the mirror and “turned the company upside down in every area.” Due to a shortage of masks in April, Apple used what Mr. Cook calls a “world-class supply chain team” to source 30 million masks and distribute them around the world. Apple also donated 10 million face shields to frontline healthcare workers as they too faced an immense shortage of vital PPE equipment. Additionally, Mr. Cook says Apple helped a small company that specializes in COVID19 testing with scaling up their production in order to meet testing demand, that company has not been named.
Working from Home
In total, the CEO says that Apple wanted to find ways to help during these difficult times, without having to be asked first. On the operational side, Tim Cook says that Apple employees have been primarily working virtually since at least March and that like all of us, Apple is still learning. Mr. Cook however says he is incredibly proud of the employee’s resilience, and that the recent product announcements are a testimony to that resilience.
Tim Cook previously stated that he does not expect employees to return to the office until at least 2021, but even when do, Mr. Cook says it won’t be the same. Certain things such as creativity and the serendipity of having employees working together in an office space are tough to replicate virtually, especially with the group-centric design of Apple Park.
Antitrust, Investigations, and Monopoly
Shifting gears, in July Mr. Cook testified alongside the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Microsoft on antitrust issues. In response to a question on what bothered the CEO more, being called to testify, or being called to testify alongside Mark Zuckerberg. A question clearly meant to draw a distinction between Apple and Facebook, Mr. Cook responds with saying “Big companies deserver scrutiny”.
He adds that he no issues with governments and people looking at Apple through a microscope and that his hope is that as the company makes its case to the public, it’ll become clear that Apple has no monopoly. In a matter of fact, the CEO says that Apple’s stragtey of creating the best, not the most products will never generate a monopoly. He touts the fact that Apple faces tough competition in the smartphone, tablet, and computer market, calling it a street fight for market share every day.
Privacy and China
In remarks, the CEO also talks about Apple’s privacy stance and how it doesn’t believe users what mass amounts of data being collected on them and that the company will always place privacy as a priority. Mark Goldberg asked Tim what keeps him up at night, mentioning China and its record on human rights including concertation camps for Muslims. Mr, Cook says that Apple looks through those things and instead focuses on putting the user at the center of everything it does.
Personal Future at Apple
The last question, and probably the most interesting one was about Mr. Cook’s future in the company. A recent Bloomberg report has sparked somewhat mild speculation that Mr. Cook may depart as CEO, responding to that while not mentioning the report directly Mr. Cook says that he loves working with Apple, and would rather be nowhere else.
You can watch the full 22 minute interview here.