Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday sat down for an interview at The Atlantic Festival where he discussed his relationship with United States President Donald Trump, privacy, antitrust issues, and working from home.
On his relationship with Trump and what it’s like working with the President, Cook said that the conversations he’s had with Trump are “private conversations” and wouldn’t go into details about what’s he’s discussed with the president, but he did restate what 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.
On the topic of Apple employees making the shift to working from home, Cook said that he can’t wait for “everybody to be able to come back,” confirming that Apple will not be allowing its employees to work from home long term.
Cook did, however, say that “some things” work really well virtually, and so things at Apple won’t return to exactly 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.
As for the ongoing U.S. antitrust investigation into Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, Cook said that “big companies deserve scrutiny,” and that he has “no issue” with Apple being investigated, and that he hopes people will listen to Apple’s side of the story.
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.
Cook’s full interview is available for viewing in the YouTube video seen below from The Atlantic. Cook’s interview begins approximately 15 minutes into the video.