Tim Cook says he's tired of big tech being painted as a 'monolithic' force that needs tearing apart

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday told CNBC he was frustrated that Apple had gotten tarred with the same brush as other Silicon Valley giants by regulators looking to break up tech monopolies.
  • Cook said Apple’s approach to privacy set it apart from competitors like Facebook.
  • The Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has said she would break up Apple, separating the company from its App Store.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed frustration with his company’s being dragged into the regulatory spotlight along with the rest of Silicon Valley.

Cook gave an interview to CNBC’s Becky Quick on Monday, and Quick asked Cook how he felt about regulators homing in on big tech, specifically calling for companies like Apple to be broken up.

“I’m frustrated that tech is painted as monolithic,” Cook replied. “Tech is not monolithic. That would be like saying ‘All restaurants are the same’ or ‘All TV networks are the same.'”


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He said Apple’s size, location, and market cap were the only things tying it to other tech companies. The firm is close to the trillion-dollar valuation it passed last year, putting it in the same company as Amazon and Microsoft.

Cook said a big difference between Apple and the rest of Silicon Valley was the company’s approach to privacy. “We don’t traffic in your data,” he said.

The presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has been especially vocal in calling for big tech to be broken up, and she named Apple specifically in March. “Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store,” Warren told The Verge’s Nilay Patel. “It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.”

Cook did not mention Warren by name in his interview with CNBC but said calls for breaking up big tech made for good political “sound bites,” adding: “I don’t view them as having deep substance in them.”

Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in March, accusing the company of acting as “both a player and referee” to disadvantage competing app developers. Apple hit back hard, saying Spotify’s complaint was a cynical ploy to make more money. The Financial Times reported on Monday that the European Union was set to investigate.

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