The chief technology officer also believes that regulators must take strong measures against online privacy and comments that “the GDPR in itself is not enough.”
And he said that, despite the success of tablets and iPads, there may never be a “post-PC era.”
Cook was in Dublin to visit app developers, musicians and receive a Leo Varadkar Taoiseach award on behalf of the IDA for Apple’s 40 years at its Hollyhill base in Cork, where he employs more than 6,000 people.
He also talked about Apple’s current tax case with the European Commission, as well as about the company’s 1998 doubt about whether to keep Cork’s base open.
Before meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr. Cook sat down to share some ideas about Apple’s relationship with Ireland, where his thinking is about Mr. Cook’s applications and determination to protect the privacy of iPhone users and Manzana.
When asked about current relations with the Irish government, Cook described them as positive.
“I feel really good with the relationship, not only with the government, but with the people,” he said. “We’ve been here for 40 years now. And like every good relationship, there have been some ups and downs for both parties.”
“But we arrived here at a time of very high unemployment in Cork. Now we have grown to a base of more than 6000 employees with 100 nationalities. I hope to be here for the next 40 years.”
Apple and Ireland are jointly appealing a European Commission tax ruling of 13,000 million euros in 2016 in a case that could last for years.
Apple has recently seen its value rise to $ 1.4 billion (€ 1.2 billion), partly thanks to the success of its new products, such as Apple Watch and AirPods.
Ireland is one of the EU countries with the largest participation of iPhone.
However, the company is under more sustained pressure to provide ‘backdoors’ in its secure iPhone encryption as police forces search for suspects’ digital devices to help investigate the crimes.
To date, Apple has taken a rigid line on the issue, refuting requests from the United Kingdom and, this month, from US authorities to access its security systems. This has sparked the anger of US President Trump, who tweeted his discontent that Apple would not help the FBI enter one of its own iPhones in a terrorist case.
When asked if there was room for nuances or a lower level of privacy if the authorities were looking for him, Mr. Cook said no.
“Did not say. “I think everyone has seen some of what is at stake in recent years in some way. And maybe not everyone understands how important privacy is. But our opinion is that it is the basis on which many others exist. things”.
“It is the basis of freedom of expression, as just one example, so I believe that society is waking up to this and I do not believe that people in most countries of the world are satisfied with the continuation of where we are today” .
Previously, Cook has had problems with what he has described as a dilution of online privacy standards generated by online web giants such as Google and Facebook.
When asked if he believed that Europe’s GDPR privacy law was the answer, he said he wants regulators to go beyond the adopted GDPR standards.
“This is an area where regulation is needed,” he said.
“GDPR, I think, was a great first step. And, to a large extent, it was adopted worldwide, either because companies couldn’t do it in two different ways, or because other countries are moving in the same way. But GDPR in itself is not enough.The risk to our privacy, which we consider a fundamental human right, has never been greater.
“And, then, I think we should all understand what is at stake here. And then I think it is an area in which companies in general have not shown that they control themselves. I think the EU is a great place for that where it can go on and start. “
Cook talked about Irish iOS application developers who, he said, have earned about € 1 billion for selling their applications to customers around the world and have been central to “creating 17,000 application economy jobs” in Ireland.
“The developer population here is really taking off and it’s great to see it,” he said.
But when asked if phone and tablet applications were the inevitable end to computing, he gave a different note to the “post-PC” enthusiasm articulated five years ago at the launch of the iPad Pro.
“I think I’ve realized that there is room for several devices for people,” he said. “I don’t see a day when the PCs are gone. I don’t see that.
“I think there are too many things about it that are great. I mean, you can see our numbers, we sell many more iPads, but more and more I see it as a computing device and you decide which one or which you want.”
“Some people will use one of them. Some people will use two. Some even more than two. Therefore, I think it is an individual preference.”
The Hollyhill facility in Cork is a global transportation logistics center for Apple. When a new iPhone is launched, Cork managers are responsible for overseeing thousands of delivery trucks, flights and other practical arrangements to make sure the devices reach stores and warehouses.
The installation is also the only Apple autonomous manufacturing facility in the world, building iMacs on demand. There are almost 35,000 possible configurations.
Apple has a relatively high percentage of remote workers in Ireland, and about 25% have the option of working from home.
After receiving the IDA award from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Cook held a public question and answer session with IDA Executive President Martin Shanahan, where he spoke about the tax case of the European Commission for 13,000 million euros and he had doubted whether Apple would keep its Cork base open in 1998, when the company had financial problems.
“It’s very complex to know how to tax a multinational,” he said. “It’s not like a small business that does all of its things in general in one country. A multinational could manufacture in one country, serve in another, sell and research and develop in another. And then someone has to decide how to distribute profits and, therefore, so much, the tax payments. “
Cook told Shanahan that it was a “really reasonable issue for people to debate” as a policy issue.
“I think reasonable people can have different points of view,” he said. “I think the place for that to happen is worldwide, because you can bet that each country will have a different point of view. Companies should have nothing to do with this, they should simply follow the law.” And then, the OECD, I think, is the place for this.
“Mr. Cook said Apple” desperately wants “to be fair.
“This is where the problem arises in the Commission. We believe that the law should not be modified, that the law is the law and the law may change in the future, but it should not change in reverse.”
“That is at the heart of the case if you simply make it very simple. Now it is before the court and we have great faith in the justice system.”
He went on to say that he is “optimistic” that the OECD can create a clearer tax code.
“I think they have to do it. This is never going to be something everyone will say ‘yes, great’ because everyone would like a little more. But I think they [the OECD] They are the place to happen. And I think, logically, everyone knows that we have to analyze it again. I would be the last person who would say the current system or is a perfect system. “
Cook repeated Apple’s claim that he is the “largest contributor in the world.”
“We do it willingly, not reluctantly,” he said. “The [European] The Commission has a different perspective on who we should pay. And the way we see it, and I think it’s also the way Ireland sees it, is that we’ve paid them according to the law. We follow the law and pay them accordingly. “