Steve was a genius and a visionary. I never really viewed my role was to replace him. He was irreplaceable. Steve was an original and I don't think there's another one of those being made. I never felt the weight of trying to be Steve. I am who I am…and focused on being a great CEO at Apple.
If (Steve) were sitting here he would tell you that one person can't do it all. You could have an "S" on your chest and a cape on your back and not be able to do everything. He brought in great people and set a standard. His legacy was in leaving that foundation.
Patent wars among Apple, Samsung, Google: Is it a problem for innovation? "It's a pain in the ass. We can't take all of our energy, all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else's name on it. We can't have that. The worst thing in the world that can happen to you if you're an engineer and you've given your life to something is for someone to rip it off and put their name on it. "
The TV business. It's not a fifth leg of the stool. It's not the same market size as the phone business or the Mac business or the music business or the tablet business. But last year we sold 2.8 million Apple TVs. This year just in the first six months we sold 2.7 million. This is an area of intense interest for us. And so we're going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us. I think many people would say this is an area in their life they're not really pleased with. It's an interesting area.
Right now our contribution is Apple TV.
(When asked about whether Apple is making a TV set.) "You were right, I'm not going to tell you."
"We would look not just at this (TV) area but other areas (and) we would ask can we control the key technology? Can we make a significant contribution far beyond what others have done in this area? Can we make a product that we all want? We think we're reasonably good proxies for others. Those are things we would ask about any new product category."
Among other subjects Cook touched on: he said he didn't think Apple has to own a content business. He said Apple didn't look at buying Instagram before Facebook's acquisition. And while he wouldn't rule anything out, Cook says he is not looking at any big acquisitions right now.
Cook said Apple has to be social but doesn't have to own a social network. Twitter is deeply integrated into its iOS mobile operating system and OS X Mountain Lion, the newer version of the Mac software that is coming this summer.
He named Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luthor King as two of his heroes, and said Disney's Bob Iger, who sits on Apple's board, is one of the CEOs that he admires.
And he recalled the time in 1998 when Jobs tried to woo him to Apple from Compaq, he had no intention of joining. Cook fielded a number of calls from recruiters and finally agreed to meet with Jobs. He flew out on the redeye on a Friday night for a meeting the next morning. "The honest to God truth is that five minutes into the conversation I wanted to join Apple…He painted a story, a strategy that he was taking Apple deep into consumer at a time that I knew that other people were doing the exact opposite. I never thought following the herd was a good strategy. You're destined to be average at best. I saw brilliance in that."
Cook resigned from Compaq immediately.