Tim Cook reflects on life at Apple
It's been a wild year for the company's CEO. Apple debuted a number of new products and saw its stock price swing wildly. Cook looks back on his time in charge.
Cook is winning praise from some readers. "People who think Apple will suffer with him in charge are so wrong," raved one Twitter user. A more critical look, from Heidi Moore at the Guardian, describes Apple as engaging in an image clean-up after a difficult year in which its image was tarnished and its stock price sagged.
"And now Apple has to scramble back into our affections, just a little," Moore wrote. "It's a big change for a company more used to standing back and being adored."
Cook does seem to be making the media rounds. He speaks with Brian Williams on Thursday night's episode of "Rock Center." The moves undoubtedly calculated to burnish Apple's less-than-shiny reputation and give the market something else to focus on besides the company's stock performance.
Here are some of the highlights from Cook's Bloomberg interview:
- Some Macs will be made in the U.S. starting next year. Apple is investing more than $100 million on bringing some production back home. But the company is likely doing this through third-party manufacturers. "I've never thought a company’s measurement of job creation should be limited to the number of employees working directly for them. That’s a very old-time way of measuring."
- About 80% of Apple's revenue comes from products that only went on sale in the last two months. In the last 60 days, Apple has debuted the iPhone 5, new iPods, the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad mini and a new MacBook. That reflects a boldness at Apple. "They're still ready to burn the bridge," Cook said. "And this is great. Because there is no other company like that anymore."
- Don't play politics at Apple. "I despise politics. There is no room for it in a company. My life is going to be way too short to deal with that. No bureaucracy. We want this fast-moving, agile company where there are no politics, no agendas."
- He gets hundreds, sometimes thousands, of customer e-mails every day. And he takes some of them home to read after work. "It's a privilege," he said. "It's like you're sitting at the kitchen table. You're a part of the family."
- He's a little annoyed at being described as robotic. "It sounds like there is just no emotion," he said. "People that know me, I don't think they would say that. I certainly am not a fist-pounder. That isn't my style."
- Steve Jobs told Cook to be his own CEO. Jobs told Cook in 2011, "I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what's right." That removed a tremendous pressure, Cook said. "It was his way of making sure Apple would not be burdened by the past."
- He only wants to sell products that make a significant contribution to society. "You know, we want to really enrich people’s lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it’s not our North Star."
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