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Transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook interviewed by NBC's Brian Williams

December 06, 2012|By Chris O'Brien
  • NBC's Brian Williams and Apple CEO Tim Cook visit an Apple Store.
NBC's Brian Williams and Apple CEO Tim Cook visit an Apple Store. (NBC News )

It felt a bit anti-climatic after a blistering day of Apple news courtesy of Chief Executive Tim Cook, including a lengthy interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, and lots of teasers from NBC in recent days. But tonight, finally, Cook's interview with NBC's Brian Williams aired. 

The big news had already spilled out: Apple plans to begin manufacturing some Macs in the U.S. next year. But if you missed the segment, the transcript is still worth a read. And we'll update with the full video after NBC posts it.

In the meantime, here's the transcript from the Thursday night segment of NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams":

TRACK 1

Nobody remembers the guy who came after Thomas Edison. And nobody seems to recognize Tim Cook as we walk together across the teeming floor of Grand Central Station.

TIM COOK: I'm a very private person, I like my being anonymous.

TRACK 2

As we walk, we're surrounded by examples of what Apple has done to our society -- both good and bad.

People now live their lives while listening to the soundtrack of their lives. Communicating with members of their own community while ignoring the actual community around them.

And in this marble monument to another time, where trains lumber to a halt, two stories beneath our feet -- we go up the stairs into what we were told the future would look like. The red shirts greet us. And Tim Cook is home now -- in the Apple Store, where the successor to Jobs is suddenly treated more like Jagger.

TIM COOK: 

It's pretty spectacular … who else would put a store like this in Grand Central Station?

TRACK 3

And who else would have us believe they intend to be the one company that reverses hundreds of years of business history -- by becoming the one company that never fades away into irrelevance.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

You realize if you're a company that can keep amazing us, consumers, if you're a company that can stay fresh without an expiration date, you'll be the first company ever to do that. There is a cycle, a circle of life, a life and death.  And you're trying to buck that trend.

TIM COOK:

Don't bet against us, Brian. Don't bet against us.

TRACK 4

We started our day with Tim Cook in lower Manhattan, at another of his 250 austere Apple stores where we began the questioning with: What's different about him.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

How are you not Steve Jobs?

TIM COOK:

In many ways.  One of the things he did for me -- that removed a gigantic burden that would have normally existed -- is he told me, on a couple of occasions, before he passed away, to never question what he would have done. Never ask the question "What Steve would -- do," to just do what's right.

TRACK 5

Doing right has done well for Tim Cook so far. He's had a good first year on the job - the company's stock is up about 45% during his tenure, and think about this: He's already presided over the roll-out of three iPads, two iPhones and three Macs.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

It's beautiful.

TIM COOK:

Absolutely stunning. Every detail has been focused on.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

So, you've got guys whose job it is to get this mesh right to get this curve right …

TIM COOK:

To get it precisely right.

TRACK 6

In fairness, however -- this past year, they haven't gotten everything precisely right.

TRACK 7

Starting with Siri … the small woman who lives in your iPhone.  The service amazed all of us at first -- but then came under criticism for not being … perfect … or as consistently amazing as Steve Jobs wanted it to be.

And then there are the maps ... iPhones used to come with Google maps until they set out on their own --- but Apple's version wasn't quite ready for launch.  It lacked some critical street smarts. And in those early days -- God help you if you went anywhere near the Brooklyn Bridge or the Hoover Dam. It was a rare and public embarrassment and Cook fired two top executives in charge.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

How big of a setback was Maps?

TIM COOK:

It didn't meet our customers' expectation, and our expectations of ourselves are even higher than our customers'.  However, I can tell ya -- so we screwed up.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

And you said goodbye to some executives.

TIM COOK:

Well, we screwed up.  And we are putting the weight of the company behind correcting it.

TRACK 8

As for the iPhone 5 itself ... they have flown off those perfect Apple store shelves. Apple sold 5 million of them in the first weekend alone, breaking all previous sales records. But buyers of the iPhone 5 soon discovered they had to buy something else -- none of the old power cords work on the new equipment.

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

Why did we have to buy new cords for this?

TIM COOK:

As it turns out, we had a connector, a 30-pin connector that we used for a decade or more --

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

I've got 500 of 'em at home --

TIM COOK:

You have a few of those --

BRIAN WILLIAMS:

If you need any. Yeah.

TIM COOK:

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