Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he believes there is still more growth in the smartphone market.
In an exclusive interview with the Washington Post Cook hit back at critics of the manufacturer who had predicted the brand’s financial success would slow many times before:
‘They were saying that about Apple in 2001. They were saying it in 2005. They were saying it in 2007 — “this stupid iPhone, whoever dreamed up this thing?” Then they were saying that we peaked in 2010, then it was 2011.
‘We got to $60 billion [in revenue], and they said you can’t grow anymore from this. Well, last year we were $230 billion. And, yes, we’re coming down some this year. Every year isn’t an up, you know. I’ve heard all of it before. And I don’t subscribe to it because it’s traditional thinking in a lot of ways: You can’t get large because you are large.’
‘Best market on earth’
Cook spoke enthusiastically about the potential the smartphone market continues to represent for the brand describing it as the ‘best market on earth’.
‘Over time, I’m convinced every person in the world will have a smartphone.’ he said ‘that may take a while, and they won’t all have iPhones. But it is the greatest market on earth from a consumer electronics point of view.
‘I realise that the people who are focused on this 90-day clock say, “Oh, my God, the smartphone industry only grew by 1 percent or decreased by 6 percent.” You know, the global economy’s not that great right now. But if you’re in it for the long haul, this is the best market on earth.’
AR hint and B2B growth
In the past few years Apple has really accelerated its growth in the business space, using partnerships with businesses like IBM to increase its footprint in the space. Cook believes that the sector still has a great deal of opportunity for Apple: ‘We have an enormous opportunity in enterprise. Last year we did $25 billion or so in it around the world. We’re collaborating much better with key partners because it’s important, if you’re making a decision to use our products or anybody’s products in the enterprise, that they work well together.
‘And so we’re working with Cisco because they’re incredible with the network infrastructure. We’re working with IBM, who’s written a number of apps. We’re working with SAP because they own the back of the house, in terms of the processing. They own three-quarters of the world’s transactions, in terms of it running on their products.’
The Apple boss also hinted that it was working on an augmented reality product: ‘I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about.’
The Apple CEO also used the interview to acknowledge that his first major hire as CEO of the Californian brand was a mistake. Cook poached Dixons CEO John Browett as senior VP for retail, only to fire him six months into the role.
‘I hired the wrong person for retail initially’, said Cook ‘that was clearly a screw-up. I’m not saying anything bad about him. He didn’t fit here culturally is a good way to describe it. We all talked to him, and I made the final decision, and it was wrong. We fairly quickly recognised it and made a change. And I’m proud we did that. A lot of companies would have said, “Oh, he hasn’t been here very long.” But when you’re looking at more time with 50,000 people in retail — that’s a lot of people that you’re effecting in the wrong way. That was a mistake. I probably have a long list.’