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Cook: The only thing Apple won't do is release a lousy product

Lex Friedman | Feb. 13, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs technology conference.

And, Cook said, Apple will surely keep looking. "But we're disciplined and thoughtful, and we don't feel a pressure to just go out and acquire revenue. We want to make great products, and that's what we're about. So if a large company could help us do that even better, then that would be of interest." That said: "The cash is not burning a hole in our pocket."


Cook said that Apple's culture of innovation has "never been stronger. Innovation is so deeply embedded in Apple's culture." As he's said before, Cook stressed that Apple's goal is "to not just make good products, but make the very best products in the world."

He described Apple's position as "unique" and "unrivaled," because "Apple has skills in software, in hardware, and in services." Cook argued that the PC industry's approach of specialization, relying for example on others for the software or the services, is "not working for what customers want today." Apple's all-in-one approach, Cook said, offers an "elegant experience where technology kind of flows to the background," with the customer at the center.

"This isn't something that you can just go write a check for."

On the iPad

"I think the tablet market will be huge. It's a huge opportunity for Apple," Cook said. He said that Apple sold more iPads than HP sold of all its computers in a comparable timeframe. "The tablet is attracting people who've never owned a PC, or people who owned them and weren't great at" using them, he said. And "we have a significant lead" in the market.

Of course, Cook added, "I have no idea what market share is, because we're the only company that reports how many units we sell."

But for usage statistics, Cook referenced an IBM study from Black Friday. "The product that there was the most shopping done on, of any mobile device, was iPad," he said. "iPad was twice as much as the total of every Android device--every one of them! Every phone, every tablet." And Cook says the credit goes to the iPad's ability to offer "an incredible experience... Customers want integration, and Apple can do that better than anyone."

Fine young cannibalization

Cook said he isn't worried about the iPad mini cannibalizing iPad sales. He said that Apple's faced cannibalization questions since the introduction of the original iBook, which some worried would cannibalize PowerBook sales. "And portables went on to be three-quarters of all Mac sales," Cook said.

"People worried about the iPad killing the Mac," which didn't happen. But Apple's perspective is simply that "if we don't cannibalize, someone else will," Cook said. On the plus side, "the Windows PC market is huge, and there's a lot more there to cannibalize," he added.


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