Tim Cook’s having a busy Tuesday. Before he sits next to first lady Michelle Obama at tonight’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., the Apple CEO delivered his own “state of the union” with respect to Apple at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday morning via conference call.
During the conference session, Cook provided some insight into Apple and its various businesses -- namely, designing and manufacturing new products and devices, as well as handling issues like company acquisitions, growth, sustainability, cannibalization, and expansion into new markets.
Here, we’ve provided the five best quotes from Cook during his conference call this morning. The full session can be replayed in full on Apple’s website.
Cook on staying enthusiastic at Apple:
“I don’t have very many bad days. But if I ever feel I’m dropping down from an excited level, I go in a store and it instantly changes. It’s like a prozac. It’s a feeling like no other.
“I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad if it weren’t for our stores. It gives Apple an incredible competitive advantage. Others have found out it’s not so easy to replicate. We’re going to continue to invest like crazy. The average store last year was over 50 million in revenue.”
Cook on Apple acquiring more companies in the future:
“We do a fair number of acquisitions… one every other month. Most of them are for talented people working on smaller projects that we absorb and then move them to our own projects. PA Semi is an example ... talented chip folks working on PowerPC and we moved them to iOS device work. We'll do more deals like this. “As for large companies, we have and will continue to look at them. But so far they haven't passed smell test for us. We could do it, but we're disciplined. Not interested in just growing revenue, but if there was a large acquisition that fit our needs, we would do it.”
“There are some misconceptions over what [Greenlight’s lawsuit] is about. It's not about turning money back to shareholders. It's about corporate governance. So we've decided to eliminate the ability to issue ‘blank check’ shares ourselves. We could still do it, but would have to go to shareholders for approval. So frankly, this seems bizarre to me that we're being sued over something that's good for shareholders. “We wish people involved in this lawsuit would take this money and donate it to a good cause. This is a waste of money for all involved ... a silly sideshow. But you're not going to see us sending out a mailing or campaigning for our proposal. It's the right thing to do, and I'm going to vote for it. You're not going to see a ‘Yes on 2’ sign in my front yard.”
Cook on expanding the iPhone line to focus on low-cost markets:
“We wouldn't do anything we don't consider to be a great product. That's just not who we are. That said, if you look at what we've done for people who are price sensitive, we've lowered the price of the iPhone 4 and 4S as of last September, and last quarter we didn't have enough supply of the iPhone 4. It surprised us. “Also take a look at the history of iPod. When we started, it was $399. Now you can get an iPod shuffle for $49. Rather than cheapening, we build new products with a separate experience. For years, people said 'Why don't you have a Mac under $500 or $1000 or whatever?' We worked on that for a long time and came up with the iPad. So we're always trying to reinvent with great new products.”
Cook on iPad mini possibly cannibalizing iPad and MacBook sales:
“I get asked about cannibalization a lot. The first time I remember being asked about this was the iBook versus the PowerBook. When the iPad came out, people said we were going to kill the Mac. The truth is we don't think about that. If we don't cannibalize, someone else will. In the case of iPad, the Windows PC market is huge, and there's a lot more there to cannibalize than there is of Mac. If a company ever begins to use cannibalization as a major factor in their decision-making, it's the beginning of the end. Because if they don't, someone else will. “If you look at the iPad, over 50% of the people buying iPad in countries like China and Brazil don't own any other Apple products. And we've seen a very clear pattern of people buying an initial Apple products and then buying more. We've seen this halo effect with iPod for the Mac, iPod for iPhone, and now even iPad for iPhone. Seems perfectly reasonable to me to have both iPad and iPad mini. I think this is going to be the mother of all markets. And customers are voting and they're buying.”
“First of all, I'm not going to talk about what we might do in the future. But look back at the PC industry ... companies have historically competed on two fronts: price and specs. But customers are interested in the experience. Do you know the speed of an Ax processor? It doesn't matter. So when we look at displays, there are a lot of factors ... and it's all about the experience. There are many details of a display (Retina is twice as bright as OLED, and better color saturation), and we sweat all of them to create the best experience, which is always broader than can be defined by a single number.”
Tim Cook can be seen sitting next to the first lady at tonight’s State of the Union address, which starts at 9 p.m. EST.