Three things we learned about Apple from Tim Cook on 60 Minutes - Tax "crap", encryption and China

 
Lynsey Barber
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Cook spoke to the 60 Minutes show in the US (Source: Getty)

Tim Cook has made a rare media appearance talking everything Apple, from tax to China, on CBS's 60 Minutes show.

The chief executive of the world's largest listed company with a market cap of more than half a billion dollars, set the record straight on several criticism's of the tech giant. Here's what he had to say.

1. On tax

He called the claims that Apple doesn't pay enough tax "political crap"

Two-thirds of Apple's revenue comes from overseas and under US tax laws, it would be taxed 40 per cent on reshoring that cash.

"We pay more taxes in this country than anyone" said Cook.

"I'd love to bring it home... it would cost me 40 per cent to bring it home. And I don't think that's a reasonable thing to do.

This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It's backwards. It's awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It's past time to get it done.

Presenter Charlie Rose asked: "But here's what they concluded. Apple is engaged in a sophisticated scheme to pay little or no corporate taxes on $74 billion in revenues held overseas."

Cook responded that it was "total political crap"

"There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe."

2. On encryption

"There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door's for everybody, for good guys and bad guys,", said Cook.

If authorities make specific requests for information with a warrant, Apple complies, if the information is encrypted, like iMessage is, then they do not have access to them, he explained, saying that he doesn't believe that there has to be a trade off between privacy versus national security.

"We're America. We should have both."

3. On China

Cook is bullish on China, saying he is certain the country will become a bigger market for Apple than the US.

"The numbers tell us-- tell me that. And not just the numbers of people, but the numbers of people moving into the middle class. That, for a consumer company is the thing that really begins to grow the market in a big way."

He credited the country with producing skilled workers as the draw for Apple to produce its devices there, rather than cheap labour, and said the company took responsibility for working conditions at the factories, such as Foxconn.

"We have a responsibility and we do it. We are constantly auditing our supply chain. Making sure that safety standards are, are, you know, are the highest. We're making sure that working conditions are the highest. All of the things that you would expect us to look for and more, we're doing it."

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