Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief, Speaks on Civic Duty
Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive of Apple, said businesses had civic duties that go beyond simply making money and selling products.
“Business has a very important responsibility to society,” Mr. Cook said Tuesday. “That responsibility has grown markedly in the last couple of decades or so as government has found it more difficult to move forward.”
Mr. Cook made his remarks at the BoxWorks conference, an event hosted each year by the storage company Box that showcases software for businesses.
Mr. Cook’s comments highlight one of the many ways that Apple has become more outspoken under his tenure. Last year, Mr. Cook came out as gay, a move that was hailed as significant because he leads the world’s most valuable company. This year he also opposed an Indiana law that was widely seen as permitting businesses to discriminate against gay couples.
During a recent appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Mr. Cook said that as he watched children being bullied and discriminated against, he felt “a tremendous responsibility” to let the world know that he was gay.
On Tuesday, Mr. Cook reiterated that equality was something that Apple would “continue to evangelize” when he spoke at BoxWorks.
Mr. Cook said Apple was also focused on finding ways to improve the public education system and protect the environment. He told the crowd that businesses should work to help the environment and said Apple’s data centers in the United States are 100 percent powered by renewable energy. Outside the country, it’s about 90 percent.
Mr. Cook also talked business during his interview with Aaron Levie, Box’s chief executive, specifically about Apple’s push to be a company that served consumers and business people.
Mr. Cook said Apple needed to form partnerships with companies like IBM, Cisco and Box to make its devices useful to business people and corporations. That’s because Apple doesn’t have a deep knowledge of what businesses like financial services firms and shipping and transportation companies need, he said.
On an annualized basis through 12 months ending in June 2015, Apple’s sales to enterprises amounted to $25 billion. “This is not a hobby,” Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Levie kept Mr. Cook laughing during the interview, noting that Mr. Cook met last week with China’s president, Xi Jinping, and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, asking, “You can’t get an interview with the pope? What happened?”
“It’s like being with Stephen Colbert again,” Mr. Cook said.