Cook tells investors that fight with FBI over privacy ‘doesn’t scare us’
In answer to a question about the company’s current fight with the FBI and other government agencies over encryption and privacy, Cook said the battle “doesn’t scare us” and reiterated the arguments in favor of the company’s refusal that he has given in recent interviews, though he called the dispute a “tough fight.” Cook also tantalized investors at the meeting when asked about the possibility of a new Apple foray into the automotive world.
While refusing to comment on future developments, he asked the audience “do you remember when you were a kid, and Christmas Eve — it was so exciting, you weren’t sure what was going to be downstairs? Well, it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.” His answer plays into speculation that Apple is working on at least some aspect of its own vehicle, or possibly a partnership with an existing manufacturer, that will not be ready for a number of years. Typically, new car development takes around a decade.
In interviews, Cook has been more coy about the company’s possible plans, saying that Apple “explores technologies, and we explore products” when asked about the large number of automotive-connected new hires the company has recruited. Of this, Cook said only that Apple investing in people or a specific area does not assure that anything will come of it, but that doing so is part of a process of investigation that does sometimes lead to new products.
“we’re always thinking about ways that Apple can make great products that people love, that help them in some way,” Cook told one interviewer. “And we don’t go into very many categories, as you know. We edit very much. We talk about a lot of things and do fewer. We debate many things, and do a lot fewer.”
In other announcements from the meeting, the company will raise its dividend again this year, redoubled its commitment to customer privacy, and hinted that it will continue to be aggressive in acquiring smaller technology companies over the next year. Cook noted that Apple had bought some 19 tech companies since the beginning of last year.