40+ insights Apple’s Tim Cook gave shareholders in 2021
Following news of its record $111.4b Q1 21 revenue, Apple held its annual shareholders meeting 23 February 2021. Read this transcript, but here are selected highlights of what the company told us about its business:
- Cook was buoyant around new products, promising more exciting things ahead across the board and hinting at strong performance for HomePod mini, AirPods Max and others.
- Says there’s never been a set of products with a “greater degree of future potential”.
- Cook said Apple has acquired over 100 companies over the last six years.
- Acquired 17 in the last four.
- Around one acquisition every 3-4 weeks.
- Tends to focus on small, innovative firms that relate to its core products.
On the environment
- On track to be carbon neutral across its supply chain by 2030.
- “We firmly believe all companies if they hope to be competitive in the future have to begin with leadership in this area.”
- Company continues work to develop closed loop manufacturing processes.
- “I’ve always believed the time to speak out is when you’ve got something to say,” he said.
- Hopes privacy push will move the industry forward.
- Supports laws to protect fundamental right to privacy worldwide.
- Believes in working face to face though remote working proved itself during the crisis.
- Apple employees have been working remotely since March 2020.
- “We’ve also found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually.”
- Apple is always thinking about how to help communities emerge stronger.
- “The degree to which all of our teams everywhere across the globe pull together, rose to the occasion, helped each other through it, I don’t think you could hope for more than that. You certainly couldn’t ask for it.”
“There is nothing better for a company whose business is innovation than periodically having to figure out how to do everything in a brand new way.
“In so many ways, the world has changed, but in fundamental ways, Apple has not,” Cook said. “Apple is made up of people who want to spend their lives making things that enrich the lives of others, making them more fulfilled, more creative, and more human.
“We’re comfortable saying no to a lot of things and laser focused on the areas where we can have the greatest impact, innovating relentlessly. Technology made by people, for people, and with people’s well being in mind,” Cook added. “At its best and most hopeful, technology should help us leave the world better than we found it.”
On scrutiny and regulation
- Cook insists it does not dominate in any industry it works in, arguing that anti-trut accusations can’t stick because of this.
- “Scrutiny is always fair”
- “The first priority of any stimulus should be about helping people.”
On political contributions
“Our policy on political contributions is a very simple one. We don’t make them. We don’t have a political action committee. We never have. We never will.”
- Apple engaged in cross-company effort to improve representation.
- Every team in the company has built an action plan for this.
- 43% of open US leadership positions filled by those from underrepresented communities last year.
- 37% of global leadership positions were filled by women.
- US employees from underrepresented communities earn $1 for every $1 white employees earn.
- Company has stopped asking candidates about salary history to help level the playing field.
On the supply chain
- “Extremely pleased” with resilience and adaptability of supply chain during COVID.
- Continues to invest in the US, where it has 9,000 suppliers
- Points to 5-year commitment to invest $350b in US economy.
On the dividend
- Apple plans to raise its dividend.
- Paid over $14b in dividends in last year.
- Doesn’t think dividends are only way to create shareholder value.
- Streaming has space for several players.
- Apple aims to offer high quality content
- Has achieved 240 award nominations and 70 wins.
On App Store
- iOS app economy is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.
- App store ecosystem now supports millions of jobs around the world.
- $200b paid to developers
- Over 500 million visits/week
- Enabled $500b in commerce in 2019
- 85% of profits to sole proprietors
- Apple now offers over 250,000 APIs developers can use in apps
- FRaNK solutions in use by 150,000 teachers
“Apple is about technology made by people and for people and with people’s well-being in mind. At its best and most hopeful, technology should help us leave the world better than we found it.”