Apple today held its annual meeting of shareholders, this time completely virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook answered questions from investors on topics such as the company’s response to the pandemic, political contributions, and more. Head below for our recap.
An important thing to keep in mind is that shareholder proposals and questions are not always the most technical. Instead, you receive a lot of broad, general, and often uninformed questions and proposals.
This year things were even drier than usual as the virtual event setup made it easy for Apple to filter questions out, so nothing fancy was ultimately asked directly from CEO Tim Cook. In the past, the shareholders’ meeting was held in person at the Steve Jobs Theater.
Summary of the AAPL shareholders’ meeting
During his keynote address, Apple Cook spoke extensively about Apple’s performance throughout 2020. This included Apple’s record quarter for the holidays, the M1 Mac line, Apple TV + receiving award nominations and the company’s emphasis on confidentiality.
After the opening remarks, we moved on to a question and answer session. Below you’ll find transcripts of Cook’s answers to the most important questions.
On Apple’s response to remote working during the pandemic:
“We have mainly been away since March of last year. We have almost a year under our belt right now, and I would tell you that we are still learning new things. I would say I’m incredibly impressed with our teams and their resilience. The fact that we’ve had this remarkable streak of innovation and creativity over the past year is a testament to their work, undertaken during a truly difficult time.
There are huge benefits to bringing teams together in the office, but when the pandemic made the status quo impossible, we innovated and adapted. Sometimes we’ve found more and better ways to collaborate across teams and reach our customers virtually. I still think there is no substitute for a face to face meeting, but we’ve also found that some things work really well virtually. We have taken advantage of this unusual time to help challenge the status quo. We are developing new skills, abilities and flexibility that will serve us incredibly well in the long run.
Despite a global pandemic, we had one of our most prolific years in our history, with virtual launch events that allowed us to share our strongest product line ever with the world. And at the same time, we have used our skills to support our communities when needed. “
On political contributions:
“Our policy on political contributions is very simple: we don’t. We don’t have a political action committee, we never have one, we never will. Our approach to engagement, now and always, is about politics, not politics. There are places where it means we’re going to talk and talk. We are not aiming to make political contributions and that is the right approach. “
On Apple TV +:
“From the very beginning, our approach to Apple TV + has been to tell stories that matter. We see streaming as an arena with room for multiple players. We want to stand out by delivering high quality content that shines a light on the humanity we have in common.
I think you can see the strong response to this in a number of ways, whether it’s the incredible word of mouth aired for shows like Ted Lasso or the remarkable streak of 240+ award nominations.
On the possibility of regulations impacting the App Store:
“In just over a decade, the App Store has brought a software revolution to users and an economic miracle for millions of successful entrepreneurs, creators, small businesses and large developers. Our goal now is to advance the success of the App Store ecosystem and make it even stronger through efforts such as the App Store Small Business program.
Apple does not have a dominant position in any of the markets in which we compete. Neither in any product category, nor in any service category, nor in software or applications. This competitive market drives us all to be better. So while the examination is always fair, such accusations collapse after a reasonable examination of the facts.
On Apple Stores in the midst of the pandemic:
“Our incredible retail teams have been innovative, agile and adaptive throughout COVID-19. Our top priority is to ensure the safety and health of everyone so that we can continue to serve our customers in every way. We look forward to reopening our stores in more locations. “
On the additional fiscal stimulus in the United States:
“I think the first priority of any stimulus should be helping people. While I am neither an economist nor a forecaster, making sure people receive support during these tough times is essential. The priority must be a stimulus that helps people and lays the foundation for equitable economic growth. “
On Apple’s response to bad weather in Texas:
“First and foremost, our thoughts are with all of those in Texas and the United States who have been affected, including many of our team. As I said before, Appel will make a donation to support relief organizations on the ground and our staff and global security teams remain in close contact with affected employees and offer our support.
To see so many people lose their power or access clean water, the devastation is very real, on par with what you see from some earthquakes or hurricanes. Extreme weather events like this are on the rise. In the longer term, I think it will be absolutely essential to ensure that we have the strongest possible systems to limit the damage these events can cause. From prevention and forward planning, to relief efforts on the ground, to investments in energy systems that are equally renewable and resilient. “
On the challenges to come in 2021:
“I don’t see the obstacles so much as the opportunities. Make no mistake, these are opportunities that we will need to manage creatively, intelligently and diligently as a company. We don’t take them for granted. Really, we are delighted.
Looking through the product lines, I don’t think we’ve ever had a better set of products with greater future potential. Whether you are looking at the first generation of 5G iPhones, the impressive potential of the M1 chip in the hands of our users, the Apple Watch’s remarkable ability to take care of your health, and how deeply all of these devices run deep. integrated with the software that brings them to life and a growing portfolio of services our users love and depend on.
Almost a year ago, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I said that I don’t think there has ever been a more difficult environment in which we have operated Apple as a business. . But a year later, I think you have to pause and say “wow”. The extent to which all of our teams around the world have come together, mounted the equation, helped each other out, I don’t think you can hope for more than that and you sure can’t ask for it.
After the year we have all been through, I am very optimistic about the future, and for all of us at Apple, we are thinking deeply, as always, about how we can help our communities out of this situation more strong, about how fair and equitable recovery can be, and how all of this can be aided by world-class technology that puts humanity at the heart.
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