Tim Cook Talks About What’s Changed at Apple, Mistakes, Steve Jobs, and More in New Interview

BY Evan Selleck

Published 14 Aug 2016

Tim Cook and Apple

Tim Cook, Apple’s current Chief Executive Officer, hasn’t been shy about sitting down with reporters and interviewers, which continues with a lengthy new interview with the Washington Post.

The interview, which includes not only text but also video of Cook talking over a variety of topics, is lengthy in scope, but the content therein is certainly worthwhile. Cook covers topics like advice, like where he seeks it out outside of Apple. That includes Warren Buffett, especially in terms of returning money to stockholders, Luarene Powell when it came time to testify in front of Congress, and, Anderson Cooper when Cook decided to come out.

As mentioned above, Cook covered a variety of topics. He talked about services, and how important they play for Apple now, and in the future:

“Its services business, which includes things like iTunes, iCloud and a mobile payments service, is projected to be the size of a Fortune 100 business next year — all on its own.”

Cook even talked about mistakes that Apple has made, including the hire of John Browett, who ran Apple Retail stores for a short, but distinct, period of time. But those mistakes are just part of the process, as Apple has changed over the years, and one of those changes is simply how big Apple is now compared to how it used to be. Not just from an employee standpoint, even if that’s certainly part of it, but also with products.

“The obvious things are we have more employees in the company. The company is four times larger [by revenue since 2010]. We’ve broadened the iPhone lineup. That was a really key decision, and I think a good one. We’ve gone into the Apple Watch business, which has gotten us into wellness and in health. We keep pulling that string to see where that takes us. Lots of core technology work has been done.”

The interview touched on iPhones slowing down for Apple, too, which Cook was quick to point out really isn’t a problem, so much of a privilege to be caught in a situation like that.

“This is actually a privilege, not a problem. Think about this: What other products do you know where the ratio of people to the product, for a consumer electronics product, will be one-to-one over the long haul? I don’t think there is another one.”

Of course, Steve Jobs was brought up, and Cook says replacing Jobs isn’t possible — by anyone:

“To me, Steve’s not replaceable. By anyone. [Voice softens] He was an original of a species. I never viewed that was my role. I think it would have been a treacherous thing if I would have tried to do it. When I first took the job as CEO, I actually thought that Steve would be here for a long time. Because he was going to be chairman, work a bit less after he came back up the health curve. So I went into it with one thought, and then weeks later — six weeks later, whatever —It was very quickly. [The day he died] was sort of the worst day ever. I just — I had really convinced myself. I know this sounds probably bizarre at this point, but I had convinced myself that he would bounce, because he always did.”

The Washington Post brought up Cook’s testimony in front of Congress back in 2013, which covered Apple’s tax practices, Cook went over how he sought advice from folks who might have had similar situations, or who have spoken to Congress.

“For the hearing [before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations about Apple’s tax practices in 2013], I’ve never testified in front of Congress before. So I called up [Goldman Sachs CEO] Lloyd Blankfein, because I looked back to say who’s done this before? I knew Lloyd and thought he’d be honest with me. I called up President Clinton. He knows a lot about the politics. I’d not met him through a political connection. I’d met him through the foundation. I went to Laurene, Steve’s wife. Laurene has the lens of knowing me and deeply understanding Apple.”

Cook also talked about the significance he felt about coming out:

“I was thinking about kids. I was getting notes from kids who knew I was gay, or assumed I was, because of something they had read on the Web. And they were kids who were distraught. Some had been pushed out by their families. They thought they couldn’t achieve anything. They couldn’t do anything. They were seeing the national discourse around it and feeling isolated and depressed. And I just thought — I’ve got to do something.”

Finally, Cook touched on the role of augmented reality (AR):

“I think AR [augmented reality] is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about. [Laughs.]”

The full interview is certainly worth checking out. You can catch one of the video snippets below, and head through the source link to read the rest.

[via Washington Post]