Apple CEO Tim Cook has finally done an interview, more than one year after the passing of the company's famed leader Steve Jobs. But in the wide-ranging discussion with Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Josh Tyrangiel one question remains unanswered.
The CEO has been included in Out magazine's Power 50 list and been assumed as gay many times in news reports but has never commented, and his representatives won't comment on it either. A giant debate about whether Cook's sexual orientation matters at all exploded among the media after he succeeded Jobs.
In the new interview, Cook says the company screwed up on maps in its newest operating system and talks about feeling a duty to create jobs in the United States. He was also asked whether he's shy, whether intuition matters in his job, and whether it's accurate to describe him as "an enormously responsible person." At one point, he was asked "would you like to correct a few things" about the public perception of his biography.
"I hate talking about me," the CEO said, stating the obvious. "You know, it’s not something I do well or do a lot. I generally avoid it." In the end, Cook said he isn't shy and that the public might view him as too "robotic."
In a strictly business sense, Cook talked extensively about his emphasis on the company being more transparent.
"We decided being more transparent about some things is great — not that we were not transparent at all before, but we’ve stepped it up in places where we think we can make a bigger difference, where we want people to copy us."
Cook's hope for setting an example was directed mostly toward the company's policy of matching employees' charitable contributions. He described himself repeatedly as "private" — which he said has been a challenge as the now famous face of the nation's biggest company.
"For years I had the privilege of being anonymous," said Cook. "There is a great privilege in that if you’re a private person. So it’s a bit different."
Cook said Apple values the differences in all of its employees, but he was talking more about their talents.
"We’re not a Chiclet company," he said. "We don’t put people through a machine where they come out and talk the same, look the same, think the same. We really value diversity with a capital D."