6 questions we hope Colbert asks Tim Cook tonight


Stephen Colbert Tim Cook
Late Show host Stephen Colbert will have Tim Cook's ear tonight.
Photo: CBS

Stephen Colbert’s Late Show is hosting Apple head Tim Cook in tonight’s episode, and it’s a pretty big opportunity to have the ear of one of the most powerful business leaders in the country. We’re sure that Colbert already has a list of questions he and his staff have prepared for Cook, but here are some we hope to see when the show airs later.

They’re not all good questions, mind you, but we’d still love to see them.

“Do you think it is your place, as the head of the biggest tech company in the world, to trumpet your personal agenda?”

Cook has taken bold stances on political issues in ways that his predecessor, Steve Jobs, just wasn’t interested in. He has taken a firm stance on climate change, even going so far as telling investors who questioned the business sense of the company’s green initiatives to sell their stock. Apple has also taken extreme steps to ban the Confederate flag from the App Store (with exceptions for “historical value”) and flew a Pride flag over its headquarters to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling striking down the national ban on same-sex marriage. We don’t know that any of these acts came from Cook himself, but it’s hard to imagine Jobs caring much about them.

None of these things have to do with making phones, tablets, or watches, so it would be interesting to hear Cook’s thoughts on the responsibilities of his position and how he balances it with the clear influence and opportunities it affords him to make dramatic, non-business statements through the company.

“Have you ever used an Android phone?”

Tim Cook WWDC 2015
We’re not saying Cook wants to murder Google. But he clearly has the Apple-branded knife for it.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” wrote Sun Tzu in The Art of War. And while it’s overly dramatic and not at all accurate to describe Apple and Google as “enemies,” it would nonetheless be interesting to know if Cook has any firsthand knowledge of the competition. When he was up for his current job, did he face a McCarthy-esque line of questioning asking if he was or had ever been an Android user?

Probably not, but it’s kind of funny to imagine.

“Do you feel like you are living and working in the shadow of Steve Jobs?”

Taking over the company from the guy who co-founded and later rescued it is certainly a tough act to follow. And while Cook has done plenty to establish his own leadership style and distinguish himself from his almost mythical predecessor, we wonder if he ever makes decisions based on what he thinks Jobs would do or if he even thinks about it anymore. It’s been a few years.

“How many f***ing Apple Watches have you sold?”

Apple hasn’t released official numbers on how well its smartwatch has performed, and it’s really frustrating. We know the company thinks it’s doing well — and Best Buy’s enthusiastic adoption of retail sales seems to back that up — but during the third-quarter earnings call, Cook specifically said that he would not be disclosing actual figures because he didn’t want to give guidance to the company’s competitors.

But maybe Colbert can disarm him enough to get an actual number out. Who knows.

Can Apple Watch be as successful as the iPod?
Just give us a number, Tim. Is it more or less than “a hojillion”?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

“Do you know how much a gallon of milk costs?”

When you’re an important person who makes daily decisions that affect thousands of people, it’s probably easy to fall out of touch with basic, every day knowledge. We’d actually love to see this question posed to CEOs from several companies as a litmus test of how much the corporate bubble has separated them from the rest of us. And we might as well start with Cook, right?

“Who’s your favorite Avenger?”

Anyone familiar with Stephen Colbert’s work knows that while this may seem like an open-ended question based firmly on personal opinion and a means to gain insight into which particular strengths the respondent may value, it isn’t because the correct answer is Captain America. And that’s the correct answer for two reasons: first, because Colbert owns a replica of Cap’s mighty shield, and secondly because he’s basically the only one you could relate to by the end of Age of Ultron. And that’s saying a lot about a guy who is basically a lab-grown murder machine.

But hey, maybe Cook likes Falcon. He’s pretty cool, too.


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