Tim Cook says Apple could never become a monopoly because its strategy is to 'make the best, not the most'

Tim Cook says Apple could never become a monopoly because its strategy is to 'make the best, not the most'
Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook maintained his argument that the tech giant holds no monopoly in the markets in which it competes.
  • The comments were made during an interview with The Atlantic as part of a streamed event.
  • Apple and other large tech firms have come under scrutiny over their market size and influence, most recently during an antitrust hearing before Congress in July.
  • Cook said Apple's "basic strategy" to "make the best, not the most" would "never produce a monopoly."

Apple CEO Tim Cook once again defended the company against accusations it's a monopoly during an interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on Monday. Cook said that Apple wants to be "the best" company, and therefore can't be a monopoly.

"Our core strategy as a company — to make the best, not the most — that basic strategy will never produce a monopoly," Cook said to Goldberg, the magazine's editor-in-chief, during the virtual event The Atlantic Festival. "Because it is rare, it is very rare, almost impossible, for the best to become the most as well."

Cook's comments come as Apple and other large tech firms like Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, and Amazon have fallen under scrutiny regarding whether their respective positions in the tech industry hamper competition. The CEOs of all four companies testified before Congress during an hours-long hearing at the end of July to tackle the issue.

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For Apple, lawmakers' concerns have centered on the App Store, and particularly on Apple's role as the manager of the App Store as well as a competitor in it. Critics have said that companies can't properly compete with Apple's own products, like Apple Music or Apple Arcade, because of the company's control of the storefront.

Apple's policy of charging up to a 30% commission on App Store transactions has also drawn criticism in recent years, in part because it doesn't charge that fee to its own products. That controversy has most recently been in the spotlight via Apple's clash with Epic Games, the company behind 'Fortnite."


The game was removed from the App Store in August after Epic Games deliberately skirted Apple's rules to avoid paying the commission, resulting in a legal battle between the two companies.

In his interview with The Atlantic, Cook reiterated some of the points he mentioned in the July hearing, particularly when it comes to the competitiveness of the hardware markets Apple competes in.

"They're basically street fights for market share every day," he said.

Cook also said in his opening remarks ahead of the hearing that Apple "does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business."

When it comes to quarterly shipments, estimates from market research firms suggest that Apple does not lead the global markets for smartphones or PCs as of the second quarter of 2020.


Reports from Counterpoint Research and Canalys, for example, suggest that Apple falls behind Samsung and Huawei in the mobile phone market, while Canalys and Gartner data indicate that Dell, Lenovo, and HP have Apple beat in the PC space.

But some estimates do suggest Apple led the markets for tablets and wearables in the second quarter of 2020. The International Data Corporation points to Apple as being the dominant player in terms of global shipments in Q2 for both tablets and wearables, beating rivals like Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi.

"I think that big companies deserve scrutiny," Cook said during the interview. "And I think that's not only fair, but important for the system that we have in America. And so I have no issue at all in Apple being put underneath a microscope and people looking and probing."