Tim Cook says Apple will never keep quiet about social issues

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Tim Cook opening remarks WWDC 2017
CEO Tim Cook apparently laid out Apple's three policy priorities.
Photo: Apple

Whenever Apple CEO Tim Cook weighs in on a social issue, like his recent disparaging comments about U.S. immigration policy, there are always voices urging him to be quiet and concentrate on making great products.

Speaking at a forum in San Francisco this evening, Cook said that changing the world is in his job description.

He was speaking at Fortune’s CEO Initiative, “a forum for corporate leaders who are committed to addressing major social problems as part of their core business strategies.”

Apple’s CEO was asked how he responds to people who say that corporations should just stick to making money and not getting involved in larger issues.

“I don’t really think the vast majority people want that,” Cook responded. “And quite frankly, for the CEO of Apple, whether it’s me or someone else, you’re never going to fulfill your mission of changing the world in today’s environment by doing that. You’re not going to do all that you can do by staying quiet.”

“If you’re the CEO, you have to look at something broader than yourself, but it has to be something bigger or your company is not going to be successful,” he said in a 30-minute interview.

Apple’s three key issues

Although not explicitly, Cook seems to have specified Apple’s three policy priorities. “We do discuss privacy policy, we discuss immigration policy, we discuss corporate tax reform and the policies around this. And I think that most people look at that and say, ‘well, that that makes some sense.’ Do all people? No.”

Apple’s CEO has made headlines on all three issues in recent months. He had a well-publicized spat with Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook’s business model of selling user information to advertisers. 

Apple’s CEO reportedly told President Trump in a face-to-face meeting that he loves the Republican tax cuts enacted last year.

But just last week, Cook called the Trump administration’s policy of separating illegal immigrant children from their parents “heartbreaking and tragic”.