Tim Cook on Joining Apple, Running for President, and More


(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/06/14/tim-cook-on-joining-apple-running-for-president-and-more/

Financier David Rubenstein interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook, and now the entire 24-minute conversation is available at Bloomberg. Or, if you’re short on time, you can read the highlights at 9to5Mac.


(Simon) #2

Thanks for the link, Josh.

For somebody who claims he’s not political, Tim does speak up a lot about politics as soon as it has the potential of affecting his paycheck. Allow me to expand.

When Trump introduces some ludicrous fart of an idea violating the very spirit behind Apple’s otherwise prominently displayed diverse and inclusive message, Tim will try to protest as politely and carefully as he can. He’ll insinuate Apple doesn’t really agree, but will make absolutely sure they by no means hurt any GOP or Trump feelings. He’ll happily join any “council” with Trump or photo op and then turn around and preach to industry observers that “Apple is very concerned and bending over backwards for the good of the human race” or some other self-righteous and self-serving nonsense like that. [1]

Contrast that with when it’s about Apple’s tax dues. Then the otherwise so polite and cautious Tim who’s so not political will go public with harsh and terse statements such as “complete political crap”. This after the leaders of most of the European democracies have basically just informed the public (to which they are responsible) that Apple, who has chosen out of their own free will to participate in their markets (albeit not playing by their rules), has violated their laws repeatedly over many years. The best Tim can then come up with in terms of a reasoned and thoughtful response involves “crap”. [2]

How’s that for a double standard? I guess despite the human rights and holier-than-thou image Tim likes to portray Apple with, what really gets him going is what costs the company money. So he ends up chairing councils for China’s communist junta or handing over iCloud data to those people as soon as they ask for it. Muslim bans and the like don’t really cost Apple money so putting on a show for the faithful is good enough. As long as they don’t piss off the people who give them tax breaks and regulate their business. But order Apple to pay their fair share and then you’ll see Tim’s true face and what really matters to him. Suddenly, the so not political Tim Cook is very political. As a progressive, I’m starting to prefer he’d just shut up and actually not be political. Getting “support” from that kind of hypocrite is most likely not advancing the cause of minorities or civil rights.

[1] https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/01/tim-cook-leaders-letter-daca/
[2] https://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/01/tim-cook-tax-total-political-crap/


(Fritz Mills) #3

FWIW, he has a fiduciary duty to Apple shareholders to defend against anything that will negatively impact Apple’s share price. Not all Apple shareholders agree with his political opinions and, as Apple’s CEO, he has a professional duty to put his shareholders ahead of his personal beliefs. I’m not saying that’s great, it’s just what it is. And given that, I think his outspokenness on social issues and his attempts to have Apple actually do the right thing whenever possible is laudable and should be supported.


(Al Varnell) #4

Exactly. Any other explanation ignores the reality of Corporate responsibility in our world today.


(Tommy Weir) #5

Pretty tired of media asking business people and showbiz celebrities if they intend running.


(Simon) #6

Same here. Must be because now they figure even a 2nd rate TV entertainer can do it (as if RR hadn’t already made that point).


(Richard Rettke) #7

I’m really getting sick of people expressing their political bias in this forum. Stay on topic please!


(Josh Centers) #8

That’s a bit of an overstatement. Tim Cook told a representative from the National Center for Public Policy Research that if they only wanted him to do things based on return on investment, then they should sell their stock. Here’s a Medium post explaining why corporations are not required to maximize profit.


(Josh Centers) #9

I’m glad Rubenstein asked, because Cook running for president has been a growing rumor lately. Better to get it straight from the horse’s mouth.


(Tommy Weir) #10

I appreciate that. I just see it as part of an overall diminishing of political discourse. There are real politicians on both sides with things to say. Some of them are intelligent and interesting. Give them the mic.


(David Silbey) #11

For somebody who claims he’s not political, Tim does speak up a lot about politics as soon as it has the potential of affecting his paycheck. Allow me to expand.

So, to summarize your post: 1) Cook (unlike 99% of CEOs) speaks up on issues that concern him and actually does things about them where he can (Apple’s diversity policy, eg), and 2) recognizes that he lives in a country that elected Trump president and a world in which China is one of Apple’s biggest markets, and that he has a responsibility as CEO to be aware of those facts.

I mean, I know you phrased things as negatively as possible because you always do, but that’s essentially what you’re saying.


(Josh Centers) #12

No ad hominem attacks, please. First and final warning.


(Simon) #13

Well Sir, I’m sorry you disagree, but indeed that’s the gist of it. If somebody likes to portray himself as the Messiah, I will dare to point out when at the same time said person choses to appease vicious dictators and enable illiterate thugs. Even more so, when the topic comes up if this saint of a man should run for president.

And by the way, diversity in Silicon Valley is terrible. You’d never know by all the talk of people like Tim Cook, but for an industry that prides itself on being so open-minded and virtuous, there are surprisingly few women or POC (remove East Asians and there are essentially none) in higher up positions. In fact, traditional industries where you’d never think about their diversity efforts (think Detroit auto makers) do surprisingly well (and in many cases better) than a lot of the software industry around here. I say this as a white man who grew up and still lives right next door so believe me I have no desire to unnecessarily smear them. But at some point action just has to measure up to the talk. And all the fanciful fluff this industry has been putting out lately just isn’t cutting it anymore IMHO.


(David Silbey) #14

If somebody likes to portray himself as the Messiah

Cook likes to portray himself as the Messiah?

when the topic comes up if this saint of a man should run for president

Running for President has come up for people as wide ranging as Mark Cuban, Alex Baldwin, The Rock, Rosanne Barr, and Oprah Winfrey. It’s got very little to do with any idea of saintly virtue (well, except maybe Oprah. Okay, and the Rock).

diversity in Silicon Valley is terrible. You’d never know by all the talk of people like Tim Cook

I’m pretty sure that’s why Tim Cook is talking about it.

Of the 8 Senior Vice Presidents at Apple, two are women. Of the 5 Vice Presidents, 3 are women.

Of the 15 members of Ford’s executive team, 3 are women. Of the 32 Vice Presidents, 5 are women.

Percentage wise, Apple’s doing better on both. That’s not the only way to measure diversity, as you note, but it’s not nothing.


#15

Simon

    June 18

Well Sir, I’m sorry you disagree, but indeed that’s the gist of it. If somebody likes to portray himself as the Messiah,

I never got that impression from Cook or even Steve Jobs. In contrast other Fortune 500 CEOs I’ve found Cook to be rather self effacing.

I will dare to point out when at the same time said person choses to appease vicious dictators and enable illiterate thugs. Even more so, when the topic comes up if this saint of a man should run for president.

Is there a CEO of a major global company that is any different?

And by the way, diversity in Silicon Valley is terrible. You’d never know by all the talk of people like Tim Cook,

Tim Cook is the first CEO of a major corporation in the US and abroad to come out as gay.

Here’s a quote from the essay he published at the time and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. It’s a wonderful statement about diversity and inclusion.

“I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.”

He goes on to say he decided to come out because there were rumors spreading about his sexual orientation, but because he wanted to give all outsiders hope.

So yeah, Apple does have a diversity problem, but it’s been rather clear that they are working toward solving it. BTW, Apple’s top two female execs earned more than Tim Cook did last year:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.marketwatch.com/amp/story/guid/69097B1E-EB51-11E7-B7EF-B03A42CF2529


(Adam Engst) #16

I’m closing this thread.

I’m extremely unhappy with the tenor of discussions recently, and I’m going to start moderating hard if things don’t improve. TidBITS exists to help people be more productive with their Macs and other Apple devices and to enjoy using them more. Part of that is understanding Apple’s place in the world, and understanding a bit of what makes the company’s top executives tick.

This constant whining about everything Apple does, or doesn’t do, is neither constructive nor pleasant to read. And the arguments that such comments inevitably engender just make my stomach hurt.

So if you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything at all.


(Adam Engst) #17