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This is Tim: Cook at the 2013 Goldman Sachs conference

Macworld staff | Feb. 13, 2013
On cash balances

The Genius Bar helps you not only with an issue, but it helps you get more out of your Apple products over the life of them. The store acts as a gathering place, as a community--it's a place that has an important role in the community. And so if you look at an agenda on an Apple store for any given day, you might find that there's a youth program going on where the kids from a local elementary school are coming into the store as a part of their field trip. You might find that there's a local musician that's entertaining people in that store, on that night, it's incredibly exciting what these stores do.

I'm not even sure "store" is the right word anymore. They've taken on a role much broader than that. They are the face of Apple for almost all of our customers. People don't think about the Cupertino headquarters, they think about the local Apple Store. And because we've focused on these things, people love them. Last quarter, we welcomed 120 million people at our stores, and we only have a little over 400. And so that's almost 10 million people a week. Last year, we welcomed 370 million into the stores, and so this is huge, and in fact, it's so huge, that some of our stores aren't big enough.

But this is sort of like the issue around cash: it's a privilege to have this kind of issue. So what are we doing? We're closing 20 of our stores and moving them and making them larger. And in addition to that 20, we're adding 30 more. Those 30 will be disproportionately outside the U.S.; we're going to place our first store in Turkey this year, we're super-excited about that. That gets us in 13 countries; we've got a long way to go, there's a lot more countries in the world, and we'll never be in every one of them, but we'll certainly be in more. We added four stores in greater China last quarter, and so we're really on our way there. We're going to add lots more, there's incredible opportunity there and we want to serve our customers there.

One of the things that's probably not understood well about the stores is--and this is my opinion--I don't think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad, as an example, if it weren't for our stores. Because here's a product coming out, it's different. People's view of a tablet, the tablet that was ingrained in their mind, was this heavy thing that the Hertz guy was holding that no one wanted. Nobody would want one of those! You know, a few hundred thousand sold a year or something.


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