As the calls for the breakup of big tech corporations grow louder from consumers to presidential candidates like Democrat presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, Apple CEO Tim Cook took this perspective head-on in an interview with CBS news anchor Norah O’Donnell.
At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Cook laid out his case for why Apple is not a monopoly, though he acknowledged the big tech company is not above “scrutiny.”
“No. I don’t think so,” he replied when O’Donnell asked if Apple is too big.
“I think scrutiny is fair,” Cook said. “I think we should be scrutinized. But if you look at our… any kind of measure about is Apple a monopoly or not, I don’t think anybody reasonable is gonna come to the conclusion that Apple’s a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market … You know, our share of smartphones in the U.S. is typically in the high 30s or so, mid-30s. On PCs, it’s lower than that.”
He emphasized, “We are not a monopoly.”
Elizabeth Warren has been on the warpath, targeting big tech and Apple specifically in an interview with The Verge.
“Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store,” she opined. “It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time. So it’s the same notion.”
When asked directly about Senator Warren’s desire to break-up Apple, Cook doubled down on his comments.
“Well, I strongly disagree with that,” Cook told O’Donnell. “I think some people would argue, if you are selling a good, then you can’t have a product that competes with that good.”
Cook continued. “And I think that’s part of what is being argued there. But that’s an argument, Norah, that takes you down the path that, Walmart shouldn’t be stocking alternative or house brand. And so this is decades of U.S. law here. But I think scrutiny is good, and we’ll be… we’ll tell our story to anybody that we need to or that wants to hear it.”
Watch the clip below:
When pressed by O’Donnell about the privacy of Apple users, Cook emphasized that they stand apart from Facebook and Google, though he claimed he was not “really taking a shot at anybody.”
“We focus on the user. And the user wants the ability to go across numerous properties on the web without being under surveillance,” Cook explained. “We’re moving privacy protections forward.”
He added, “I actually think it’s a very reasonable request for people to make.”
Cook also praised users for becoming more aware of the lack of privacy that is starting to creep in on digital platforms.
“It’s not good for our country,” he said.” You can imagine an environment where everyone begins to think there’s no privacy. And if there’s no privacy, your freedom of expression just plummets. Because now you’re going to be thinking about that everybody’s gonna know every single thing you’re doing. This is not good for our country, not good for democracy.”