Tim Cook Interviews With Brian Williams: 6 Things We Learned About The Apple CEO

 @redletterdave
on December 07 2012 3:57 PM
Apple CEO Tim Cook, whose 2012 compensation now exceeds $600 million.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook talked about "several more game changers," including wearable computing devices, like Nike’s FuelBand. Reuters

Tim Cook has been at the helm of Apple for more than a year now, ever since the untimely death of the company's visionary founder Steve Jobs last October, following his long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Since taking over, Jobs' replacement has had much stress on his shoulders. Cook, the company's former COO who even stepped in a number of times over the years when Jobs' fight with cancer left him unable to come into work, is a much different person and manager than Jobs was. Though both men share a similar passion for great design and great products, compared to Jobs' pointed, mysterious, and sometimes cruel management style, Cook is a much more straightforward chief executive, a Southern gentleman with a slow drawl and a focus on the bottom line.

As Apple prepares for what might be its most successful holiday season yet -- the last few months have seen the introduction of new iPads, new iPods, new Macs, a new iPhone and more -- Tim Cook granted a rare two-part TV interview with Rock Center's Brian Williams, which aired on Thursday night. In the interview, Williams and Cook walked through the Apple Store in New York's famous Grand Central Station, and also sat down in another Apple Store for a more private chat about Cook's life and relationship with Jobs.

The two-part interview with Cook aired on Thursday night: We recommend you watch the entire video in full over at NBC, but here's the biggest takeaways we got from Tim's talk.

1. Tim Cook will do whatever it takes to fix Apple Maps.

"It didn't meet our customers' expectation, and our expectations of ourselves are even higher than our customers'," Cook said. "However, I can tell ya -- so we screwed up. We screwed up.  And we are putting the weight of the company behind correcting it."

2. Apple hates thieves, but Cook loves competition.

"We love our customers," Cook said. "And we'll fight to defend them with anyone. Is it thermonuclear war? The reality is, is that we love competition, at Apple. We think it makes us all better. But we want people to invent their own stuff."

3. Whether it's in court or over a patent filing, Cook and Apple are constantly fighting battles, making life for company employees very difficult.

"It's tough. It's very tough," Cook said. "You have people trying to hack into systems on a constant basis. You have people trying to elicit confidential information -- about future product plans. All of these things are things that we constantly fight."

4. Jobs' death hurt Cook more than anything in his life, because he didn't think it would ever happen.

"It was -- it was the saddest time in my life," Cook said. "I always thought that he would bounce back. Because he always did. And it wasn't until extremely close to the end that I reached a -- sort of an intellectual point that -- that he couldn't bounce this time."

5. Cook would like Apple to build more of its products in America, but there are certain operational limitations keeping that from happening.

"You know, this iPhone, as a matter of fact, the engine in here is made in America," Cook said. "And not only are the engines in here made in America, but engines are made in America and are exported. The glass on this phone is made in Kentucky. And so we've been working for years on doing more and more in the United States. Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States."

6. Cook won't say it, but Apple is "intensely interested" in breaking into the TV space.

"[Television is] a market that we see, that has been left behind," Cook said. "You know, I used to watch 'The Jetsons' as a kid. I love 'The Jetsons.' We're living 'The Jetsons' with this. It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

At the end of the interview, Cook reminded audiences of something Jobs always used to tell people.

"Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn't know you wanted," Cook said. "And then once you get it, you can't imagine your life without it. And you can count on Apple doing that."

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