Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Tim Cook on His First Four Months as Apple CEO: Just Look at the Results

Asked about his first four months as Apple chief executive, Tim Cook stressed that what he feels most is lucky to be surrounded by his talented colleagues.

When pressed for an assessment, Cook pointed to the company’s just-reported monster earnings.

“You can see our results,” Cook said during a conference call with analysts. “I think the team is doing a fantastic job. We feel really good about where we are.”

And it’s tough to argue otherwise. Apple’s profits for last quarter, at more than $13 billion, were more than what most tech giants report in revenue. Apple also posted twice as much revenue and profit as Microsoft did in its holiday quarter.

Apple’s quarterly iPhone sales, at more than 37 million smartphones, were numbers that its rivals would kill to have for a year, let alone a quarter. And recent data for the U.S. shows Apple alone nearly even with the entire Android world in market share.

Cook said he is focused on remaining the lead horse in the race, but said he doesn’t see Android as the only competitor.

“I wouldn’t say it is a two-horse race,” he said. “There’s a horse in Redmond that always suits up and always runs.”

On the tablet side, Cook said that Apple continues to dominate the market despite the flood of would-be rivals. And that market, Cook notes, is huge and growing, recently surpassing the market for desktop PCs. Eventually, Cook said, many people expect it to be larger than the PC market as a whole.

“In terms of competitiveness, the ecosystem for iPads is in class by itself,” Cook said, noting that there are 170,000 apps customized for Apple’s tablet as compared with what he said appears to be only a few hundred designed specifically for rival tablets.

Last year, Cook said, was supposed to be “the year of the tablet.”

“I think most people will agree it was the year of the iPad for the second year in a row.”

As for where Apple is headed, Cook stuck to the company’s standard secretiveness, though he did offer a few insights, at least geographically. China, he reiterated, remains the company’s big bet with regards to emerging markets, with Brazil a distant second in terms of focus and investment. India, he noted, saw its sales go threefold from a year earlier, but from a very small base.

While not mentioning any rumored plans for an Apple-badged television, Cook said the company sold 1.4 million Apple TV units in the December quarter, as compared to 2.8 million devices for the entire prior fiscal year.

“We still classify this as a hobby,” he said. “However, we continue to add things to it.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik