Apple’s Tim Cook speaks out to Bloomberg on exec shakeup, Maps and more

December 6, 2012

Apple’s aim when it shook up its executive team in October was to encourage deeper collaboration within the company, chief executive Tim Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.

By eliminating Scott Forstall — a long-time Apple veteran who oversaw the company’s mobile operating system — in favor of design guru Jony Ive, Apple is better able to focus on what makes the company unique, Cook said.

“[The] the one thing we do, which I think no one else does, is integrate hardware, software, and services in such a way that most consumers begin to not differentiate anymore. They just care that the experience is fantastic,” Cook said. “And so the changes that we made get us to a whole new level of collaboration. We’ve got services all in one place, and the guy that’s running that has incredible skills in services, has an incredible track record, and I’m confident will do fantastic things. “

The interview, posted online Thursday to preview the magazine’s Friday edition, delved into several issues facing Apple right now, including the perception that it isn’t innovating enough.

Cook defended Apple’s record, pointing out that it’s refreshed the majority of its product lines in the past two months.

“Eighty percent of our revenues are from products that didn’t exist 60 days ago. Is there any other company that would do that?” Cook asked.

But he also said that innovation isn’t the sort of thing companies can schedule into their calendars.

“Creativity and innovation are something you can’t flowchart out,” he said. “A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door.”

Addressing the problems Apple had with its Maps program, Cook said that public misstep was an example where Apple didn’t live up to its own expectations. He dismissed the thought that Apple had put corporate interests — namely, cutting ties with Google — before customer service. But he did say that Apple may have overreached and is working furiously to make the product better.

“We screwed up,” he said.

Cook also gave some of his time to Rock Center’s Brian Williams in an interview set to air Thursday night. The CEO didn’t say anything concrete about future products but did hint that he has interests in changing the way people interact with their televisions.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said in the interview. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

That’s sure to set off furious speculation among those who already believe Apple’s working on a television set or serious update to its Apple TV set-top box.

Related stories:

Apple will bring some Mac manufacturing back to U.S. in 2013

A year in search: Olympics, elections and the iPhone 5

Apple outsourcing gets mention in presidential debate

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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