Kara Swisher Interviews Tim Cook about Privacy, App Store Policies, and His Future at Apple
Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher for a wide-ranging interview on The New York Times’s Sway podcast. The interview is only about 36 minutes, and there’s a transcript available. Some highlights:
- Cook doesn’t see himself being Apple’s CEO in ten years.
- Cook touched on Apple’s recent fights with Epic Games and Facebook.
- Cook thinks side-loading apps “would break the privacy and security model.”
- Cook discussed Apple’s banning of Parler from the App Store but also said, “I hope they come back.”
- Cook went on at length about Apple’s stance on privacy and his concerns surrounding data collection and breaches.
- Cook offered some hints about Apple’s future with augmented reality and cars, adding that while he’s never met Elon Musk, he has tremendous respect for Tesla.
It’s one of the most substantial interviews Cook has given in years, and it’s worth at least reading the transcript.
Again, what about the substance in the vision for Apple. I think that Rixstep touched onto this recently - with Forstalling the Obvious? Forstalling the Obvious?
It was a substantially big surprise for me to hear Tim Cook to emphasize that he intends to relinquish his responsibilities at Apple in the not distant future, though he did not mention a date or identify a successor. This is a big item of concern, especially after the very recent departure of Jony Ive, and will be rehashed ad infinitum in the press and well as in investment firms.
In addition to privacy, which has been the substance of many discussions here over the years, Swisher and Cook also spoke about the epic battle with Epic that is still being fought in the trenches and has ramifications for the consumer electronics industry as a whole. He also spoke about VR, AR, automotive, Apple TV and plans for TV+.
And global and local politics are important to everyone and every company, including Apple, the highly influential and most valuable company in the world. IMHO, Kara Swisher does a consistently great job with her interviews. Walt Mossberg must be proud.
Thanks for narrowing down and pulling out some of those items from the interview MMTalker.
Tim Cook is 60 now, so in ten years, he’ll be 70. There’s no reason a 70-year-old can’t be a CEO of a major company, but my impression is that as Apple CEO, Cook works incredibly hard all the time. He’s entirely justified in thinking that pace may not be physically sustainable for him for the next decade. And I’m sure that Apple has succession plans in place even now—any major organization has to plan for what could happen if a corporate jet went down.
As much as we all think of the Mac when we think of Apple, the Mac is only a part of Apple’s overall strategy these days, so I wasn’t perturbed that Kara Swisher chose not to focus on it. Nor did she ask about the role of the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch—this interview was about bigger picture topics like privacy and the role of the App Store, along with stuff like AR and automotive efforts that might change Apple’s direction.
I’ll be very curious to see how Apple’s work in AR and cars pans out. AR could be huge, but I get the feeling it’s more like 10 years out than 3. And for Apple to go into cars in a big way—I almost can’t imagine how that might affect Apple’s overall business because it’s such a different market. Just think about sales alone. In some states, like New York, it’s been hard for Tesla to have their own showrooms because auto dealers have a protected spot in state law.
I believe what he really said is that he doesn’t expect to be running Apple in ten years (it’s been nearly ten years since he became CEO which is probably where Kara Swisher came up with the ten year question). That should be unsurprising for a 60 year old. I didn’t get the sense that he was hinting at a departure in the near-future though.
However, if Jeff Williams is to be the successor, maybe he will step aside sooner rather than later to let him take over, as he is in his late 50s himself.
I’ve assumed Tim Cook would die in the saddle like Steve Jobs did. Remember the tagline for old ad for an old Mac clone company…“Old Macs Don’t Die, They Just Fade Away?” Well, I wuz wrong.
This is from someone who worked with auto companies for years…they would prefer NOT to ever have to deal with dealerships at all. They have NOT been happy that it has been impossible for them to eliminate independent dealerships for over a century. I’ll bet the Tesla direct online sales model is something they all are salivating over and monitoring very carefully. They’d love to not have to split the money from the sale, or to have to spend billions every year to kiss the dealers’ derrieres. And to the benefit to consumers, the prices of cars and trucks would go down if auto companies could sell directly. But the dealers were an unavoidable necessity when the automotive retail business was born. And a big problem is that in just about every US state and many overseas countries, are franchise laws that were passed over 100 years ago that prevent automotive companies from selling to consumers directly.
I’ll bet Tim Cook is seriously considering either a line of licensed, Apple branded cars and truck systems in partnership with one or more car manufacturers, or he’s considering possibly going on its own with digital sales like Tesla.
Here’s another interview that people might be interested in comparing and contrasting with Tim Cook’s. It’s Cornell University President Martha Pollack interviewing Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. It’s obviously more general, since the goal of such a university-driven talk isn’t to find out the nitty-gritty about Microsoft’s products, but I was struck by the extent to which Nadella addresses some of the same subjects that Cook does.
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