All tech companies aren’t alike, Apple’s CEO tells CNBC.
“I’m frustrated that tech is painted as monolithic. Tech is not monolithic,” Cook said Monday during an interview with CNBC, comparing the idea to the notion that all restaurants are alike.
The suggestion that tech giants need to be broken up was floated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in March. The Democratic presidential candidate said tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have too much influence over our lives and would like to see them broken up.
In Apple’s case, Warren says Apple’s App Store gives the company too much of a competitive advantage.
“Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store. It’s got to be one or the other,” Warren said. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store.”
Cook, unsurprisingly, doesn’t see things the way Warren does.
“I don’t think anybody would call us a monopoly,” Cook said. “We’re geographically in the same location as a lot of tech companies, and that is about the extent of the commonality.”
Warren sees tech companiesover the economy, society and democracy. She’s also suggested passing laws that prevent large e-commerce platforms (with global annual revenue of $25 billion or more) from owning both the platform and any sellers on it.
“They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else,” she wrote in a blog post about the tech titans. “And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”
During his CNBC interview, Cook also sought to distance his company from the waves of data privacy scandals that have flowed through the tech community.
“We don’t traffic in your data,” he said, defending how the company curates its platform.
“We’ve always curated … we don’t get wrapped up in a pretzel about saying, ‘No, that doesn’t go on our platform, no that app doesn’t work, and therefore it’s not going in the App Store,'” he said. “I know that that has opened us for criticism.
“But it’s a part of being a shop owner or whatever. If you own the shop on the corner, you decide what goes in your store.”