Tim Cook Assures Apple Hasn't Forgotten About 'Pro' Customers
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Mar 01, 2017,
Mar 01, 2017, 4:12
Also on the agenda were a series of proposals from shareholders that hold $2,000 of Apple's stock, which must be approved by a form of majority vote. Cook announced that next year's gathering will be at the Steve Jobs Theater at a neighboring "spaceship" shaped headquarters that is due to start welcoming Apple's 13,000 employees in April.
It also noted that shareholders had rejected the same proposal past year, but argued that showed investors were satisfied with its efforts. Apple executives, like head of software Craig Federighi, and board members, such as former US Vice President Al Gore, watched from the front rows of Apple's Town Hall auditorium.
Shareholders also defeated a proposal to require Apple executives to retain their shares until they retire.
Cook said Apple is proud of the efforts it's made to increase diversity at the company. In this case, Apple generously counts subscribers to third-party services like Netflix and Hulu that bill through iTunes since Apple takes a cut. Cook gave no indication about anything Apple might be working on, so you'll have to wait and see.
Apple touts its commitment to diversity, but its shareholders don't seem to care all that much about it.
During the Q&A segment, Cook fielded a few off the wall questions while also hinting at future products. One shareholder even made a request for Apple to make a "super smart dumb phone" that's round and has a better battery. Not surprisingly, Cook replied that he's "not sure we're going to create a round phone".
Over the past year, Cook has steered Apple toward taking a stand on issues ranging from consumer privacy (it resisted an FBI push to open a killer's iPhone) to President Trump's recent immigration ban (it was among more than 100 tech companies signing an amicus brief supporting the ban's lifting by a federal court). The creative area is very important to us in particular.
But, Mr. Cook spoke directly to this lack of proof-in-the-pudding, saying, "Don't think that [because] something we've done or something we're doing that isn't visible yet is a signal that our priorities are elsewhere". With Apple shares trading near an all-time high, following confidence-building investments from Warren Buffett earlier this month, they may be simply trying to avoid rocking the boat.
One shareholder asked Cook whether Apple will fight to preserve net neutrality, something that likely will be changed under Trump's administration.
While Apple has been vocal about a number of policies from the new president's office, Cook downplayed his response here: "We stay out of politics but stay in policy. If net neutrality became a top thing, we would definitely engage in it". Cook said Apple believes all content should be treated the same, but he said Apple doesn't play the role of a lobbyist.