It takes a lot to get Tim Cook angry. Yesterday, we got as close as we are likely ever to get to seeing Tim Cook in a frothing rage. At yesterday's annual shareholder's meeting, Tim Cook was pushed by a particular investment group. Over the course of the questioning, Tim Cooks demeanor completely changed. He turned green, grew into a giant, and went rampaging through the room busting up assumptions and setting the record straight. At least, that's how I see it happening in my mind. Here's the scoop:
In an emotional response to the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), Apple CEO Tim Cook soundly rejected the politics of the group and suggested it stop investing in Apple if it doesn't like his approach to sustainability and other issues...
What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry, and he categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR's advocacy. He said that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.
"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind," he said, "I don't consider the bloody ROI." He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader...
He didn't stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, "If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."
Though this exchange was primarily about Apple's spending on environmental projects, Tim Cook made it clear that Apple is a company that does things because they believe it is the right thing to do. Tim Governs the company with conscience, not a spreadsheet. He made it clear that there are many things Apple does without regard to profitability. If shareholders didn't like it, they should take their money elsewhere. How can you not be a fan of that?
I especially liked the part about accessibility, as it confirms what I have been saying for a long time. There is no financial benefit to making all of their products accessible to the extent that they do. The number of blind people using iPhones is minuscule compared to the total number of iPhones sold. Yet every iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac are 100% accessible by the blind. The amount of money and engineering resources they spend on this is staggering. No other consumer electronics company even considers this kind of investment. Apple does. It is not for the money.
Neither Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Blackberry, nor Samsung exhibit any kind of moral conviction to accessibility. They all have, or at least had the resources. They just didn't give a rip about that unprofitable sector of the market. I don't know of any other company that would give the finger to investors as Apple just did. You should be proud to own that iPhone, iPad, Mac. There is conscience in that product, and that's more than worth whatever you paid. Good luck finding conscience in the Android powered, Galaxy whatever.