Tim Cook summed up Apple's mission in one simple sentence

Tim CookJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple has always been a product company at its core. It doesn't focus on developing big-picture "moonshot" initiatives, such as Google's project that features balloons that can beam internet down to remote areas of the world.

However, Apple has made it clear that it's committed to certain causes, which include helping the environment, improving education, civil rights, and protecting the privacy of its users.

Cook has been particularly vocal about civil rights in recent years.

"Each generation struggles with treating other people with basic respect," Cook said on stage during The Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference on Monday. "It's so bizarre."

Cook also explained how these commitments fit into the company's larger vision around products with this line that sums up Apple's mission:

"Our culture is to leave the world better than we found it," he said during the conference.

Education is one area where Cook feels that large businesses, such as Apple, have a responsibility to step up.

"The government isn't working that well," he said at the event. "When there is a stalemate, businesses have even more responsibility."

The Apple CEO said he isn't worried about alienating customers with the company's values.

"We are not forcing our views on people," he said, adding that although others may agree or disagree with Apple's views, customers believe Apple is authentic.
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