Tim Cook discusses privacy, regulation, U.S. manufacturing, and education

On Wednesday morning, following Apple’s education event in
Chicago the day before, CEO Tim Cook sat down with MSNBC’s
Chris Hayes and Recode’s Kara Swisher to talk about a variety
of Apple-related topics. The interview has not been released in its
entirety; it is scheduled to air on April 6 at 8 p.m. EDT as
part of MSNBC and Recode’s “Revolution” series. However, it was
filmed in front of a live audience, and portions of Cook’s
responses have been released.

Here’s a sampling of what you can look forward to when the
special airs late next week.

On education

“Our view is education is the great equalizer of people,” Cook
said. “if you look at many of the issues in society today, you
can find the root in people don’t have access to quality
education today.”

Cook placed a big emphasis on learning to code, too. “I want
America to be strong. First and foremost. And one base for that
is that everyone needs to learn to code. Coding is a way to
express yourself. It’s a language.”

However, he doesn’t expect everyone to suddenly get jobs making
iPhone apps.

“It’s not our expectation that everyone becomes a software
programmer,” he said. “It’s important that people learn the
basics of coding.”

It’s clear Cook believes education is not just for kids in
school. Continuing education is going to be important for
everyone, he believes, and it will become the backbone of our
jobs market as automation becomes more commonplace.

“We all have to get comfortable with education being lifelong,”
he said. “There’s an element of what each of us do, which will
be automated over time. That’s not bad. But we need to think
about training for the jobs for tomorrow, which will be

On U.S. manufacturing

Apple is often criticized for making iPhones in China, with
partners like Foxconn and Pegatron. Cook spelled out that, in
his view, the idea of Apple’s products being made overseas is

“We are building things in the United States,” he said. “It’s
not true that iPhone isn’t built in the United States. We
have always made many of the parts here. People just look at
where the final product is assembled.”

Cook also stressed the idea that Apple is a company that could
only have been so successful here in the U.S.

“We know that Apple could only have been created in the United
States,” he said. “We know that. This company would not have
flourished in any other country in the world. This is our
country. We are patriots.”

He further explained his belief that companies need to
give back to their community and their country.

“Businesses should be more than about making revenues and
profits,” he said. “Businesses need to give back.”

Speaking about Apple building a second headquarters, he threw
some shade at Amazon’s hunt for its own second headquarters
location. “We’re not doing the beauty contest. That’s not


“The DACA situation is one that I am personally, as an
American, deeply offended by. The DACA situation is not an
immigration issue. It’s a moral issue,” Cook said, speaking of
the U.S.’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy
that’s aimed at undocumented immigrants who entered the country
as children.  

But it’s not a red vs. blue or liberal vs. conservative issue,
in his mind.

“I don’t see this as a partisan issue, this is about America,
it’s that simple,” he said. “I am very disappointed with both
parties.” He sees it as something worth his own personal time
and influence, adding, “I’m personally lobbying Congress [on

On privacy and regulation

The latest Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco gave Cook
the opportunity to rightly point out how much more strict Apple
is about privacy and security than most other big tech
companies. Swisher asked him what he would do if he was in Mark
Zuckerberg’s shoes, to which he replied, “I wouldn’t be in this

He said Apple’s business model simply doesn’t require it to
collect and monetize user data.

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our
customer—if our customer was our product,” he said. “We’ve
elected not to do that. We’re not going to traffic in your
personal life. Privacy to us is a human right, a civil

Cook spoke about the potential need for regulation to protect
users in an increasingly connected world, even though he’s not
a fan of government regulation in general.

“I’m personally not a big fan of regulation because sometimes
regulation can have unexpected consequences to it,” he said.
“However I think this situation is so dire, and has become so
large, that perhaps some well-crafted regulation is necessary.”

The full interview with Tim Cook will air on April 6 at 8 p.m.
Eastern Time on MSNBC.

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