As Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) enjoyed a banner week with the releases of its iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iOS 7 mobile operating system, company CEO Timothy D. Cook sat down for an extensive interview with Bloomberg Businessweek to talk about the smartphone market, the tablet market, the Android mobile OS produced by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the recent moves made by the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and much more.
During the chat, Cook criticized Android tablets. “I think if I bought [an Android tablet] and used it, and I thought that was a tablet experience, I’m not sure I would ever buy another tablet,” he said. “The responsiveness isn’t there. The basic touch is really off. The app experience is a stretched-out smartphone kind of experience. It’s not an optimized experience.”
Cook also forecasted that the tablet market would overtake the personal-computer market in two years. “I have always said that the tablet market was going to surpass the PC market,” he said. “I was saying that well before it was viewed to be sane to say that. It’s clear that we’re 24 months away from that.”
When questioned about Android’s rise in market share, Cook was characteristically calm in answering. “I think that the importance of that is overplayed,” he said. “The truth is that there are more people using iOS 6 than there is any version of Android. And in days from now, iOS 7 will be the most popular mobile operating system.”
For Cook, the key is that people actually use Apple products. “Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used? For us, it matters that people use our products,” he said. “We really want to enrich people’s lives, and you can’t enrich somebody’s life if the product is in the drawer.”
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Cook characterized the fragmentation of Android as a “growing problem ... I don’t see Android as one thing.”
As for Apple’s fluctuating share price -- it closed down $4.89, or 1.04 percent, at $467.41 on Friday -- Cook didn’t appear to be the least bit worried. “I have never attached myself to the stock, and so I don’t feel euphoric on the up, and I don’t slit my wrists when it goes down,” he said. “I have ridden the roller coaster too many times for that.”
Cook also had words for BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY), which just announced that almost 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its workforce, would be laid off and warned the company would post a second-quarter loss of nearly $1 billion, as well as for the Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK), which recently announced virtually all of its smartphone business would be purchased by Microsoft in a deal worth about €5.44 billion ($7.36 billion).
“I think they’re a reminder to everyone in business that you have to keep innovating and that to not innovate is to die,” Cook said.
The Apple CEO then appeared to take a shot at Microsoft. “Everybody is trying to adopt Apple’s strategy,” he said. “We’re not looking for external validation of our strategy, but I think it does suggest that there’s a lot of copying, kind of, on the strategy, and that people have recognized that importance.”
Cook also addressed the rise of cheap smartphones by saying Apple wasn’t interested in the “junk” market. “I think in most markets in consumer electronics, there’s always a large junk part of the market,” he said. “We’re not in the junk business. We don’t want to make something for that. What we want to do is make a really great product and provide a great experience. And I’m sure we’ll get enough customers that want to buy that. We want to please them.”
The Apple iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iOS 7 were released worldwide to much fanfare this past week.