Apple CEO Tim Cook charms Capitol Hill

“Timothy Cook came to the lion’s den on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, prepared to face down lawmakers furious over evidence that Apple, the famous company he runs, had avoided paying billions in taxes,” Nelson D. Schwartz and Brian X. Chen report for The New York Times. “By the time Mr. Cook walked out, the big cats on a Senate committee were practically eating out of his hand.”

“Even the panel’s fiery chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, after blasting Apple for creating “ghost companies” that diverted billions of tax dollars from American coffers and caused needy seniors to go without meals, had some kind words for Mr. Cook and his company,” Schwartz and Chen report. “‘We love the iPhone and the iPad,’ Mr. Levin said, going on to commend Mr. Cook and two other executives for voluntarily appearing before the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations. ‘I know it’s not easy to come in front of a spotlight but it’s important for us.'”

Schwartz and Chen report, “Other senators seemed even more mollified by Mr. Cook’s low-key performance. Senator John McCain, the senior Republican on the panel, who had earlier criticized Apple “as among America’s largest tax avoiders,” took pains to modulate his message. ‘You managed to change the world, which is an incredible legacy for Apple,’ he told Mr. Cook… While his predecessor, Steven P. Jobs, was famous for his creative vision and flamboyant performances at introductions of the company’s products, Mr. Cook was known for his behind-the-scenes work — particularly for his shrewd negotiating tactics with suppliers. These skills seemed to stand him in good stead on Tuesday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve written many times:

“Don’t underestimate Tim Cook.”

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  1. Steve wouldn’t have put up with the cockamamie testimony before Congress. Unlike Cook, he would have told the lot of them to shut the hell up and let Apple run itself like a real world class business.

    The bunch of jackasses in Congress couldn’t run a lemonade stand profitably.

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
    ― Milton Friedman

    1. BLN, they wouldn’t need to run their lemonade stand profitably! They’d award federal subsidies to the lemon growers for product earmarked for small- and minority-run lemonade stands, then they’d create tax incentives for states who decrease the zoning overhead for sidewalk street vendors!

    2. And Tim Cook handled this much better than Steve Jobs would have. This hearing was not a time to throw fire and brimstone at Congress, but an opportunity to let Congress show themselves for the hypocritical dolts they are and that Apple and other multinational companies are simply abiding by the law.

      Cook was perfect. Congress looked like a bunch of whiny, ill-informed politicians.

      1. I agree. Some people declare BS in the moment and in the face of the BSer, others are much more subtle. TC is one of those that can call BS and make you see the error of your ways while liking it.

      2. I agree with most of what you said.This was part of a bigger picture to address the tax code and its issues. It was not about putting Apple and Cook in the line of fire.

  2. Not that they read the comments at MDN, but I also felt Peter did his normal calm & collected presentation style quite nicely; and I loved his comment that their US tax return each year is over two feet tall.
    Mr. Bulluck was a little nervous (who wouldn’t be?!) but stayed on message and didn’t give in to the attack by Senator Levin. So I say kudos to all three, and a thank you to the staffers who helped prepare them.

  3. I just saw it on youtube. Senator Levin is right. No corporation should be able to decide how to handle its money unilaterally . The US should be able to confiscate what it wants, money, liberty, anything. You have no rights. FTW.

  4. The power to tax is the power to destroy. The USSA is trying to destroy Apple. It did not succeed Tuesday. Wall Street has failed to control Apple. The USSA Government likewise has failed (so far) to control Apple. Apple is not the Automotive industry. Apple is not the Health industry. Apple is still also free to move operations outside the USSA. The USSA in DC needs to stop trying to kill off the golden goose.

    1. I agree – this misdirected attack at Apple was ridiculous.
      However, you need to get back on your meds. Taxes in the US are incredibly low for an industrialized country. Go back 15 years, 30 years, 45 years, etc… Our taxes are lower now than they were then. Suddenly we’ve become a socialist republic? Why? Because you didn’t get exactly what you wanted?

      Right wingers believe that anyone with a different opinion is an idiot. They shout words like: freedom!, socialism!, communism!, and Hitler! It’s hilarious because nothing has significantly changed. Were we a socialist republic 20 yeas ago? 40 years ago? In reality, a right winger’s “freedom” is that everyone else must be subjugated by their beliefs.

      1. Baloney. Conservatives believe that government should not be regulating every aspect of our lives, while liberals believe that government is the best option to handle any perceived offense or inequity. Neither extreme is correct and the actual, workable government lies somewhere in the middle.

        A government which overly burdens its citizens and businesses with mountains of regulations drives down productivity, which reduces income which reduces tax revenues. Plus, it makes people tired of trying to get ahead when they are confronted at every step with yet another roadblock placed by the government to getting things done.

        But our society needs things done like roads, bridges, national security, and a certain level of social welfare because we are compassionate and do not want to see people suffer when they fall on hard times. However, too much social welfare also stops productivity and drive, causing people to choose to remain on social welfare instead of striving to achieve better.

        There will never be a perfect balance, because things are always changing. But the current state of politics seems to be one extreme or the other, with each side trying to out-extreme the other at least in rhetoric. It’s frankly pretty sad.

        1. Your observations and analysis are good, Bizlaw. But you ignore the fact that the GOP has moved markedly to the right in recent years – which is the point cb was implicitly making. Any number of people observed in the last elections that Reagan wouldn’t have gotten past the primaries this time round because he wasn’t conservative enough. Read the book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” written by two long time and highly respected Congressional scholars – one Republican and one Democrat. They both agree that that the dysfunction in Washington is largely because the GOP has moved to the extreme right and now practices parliamentarian type politics instead of congressional type politics. It is this far right GOP that screams socialist, communist, etc. whenever it doesn’t get what it wants, and raised the level of FUD and hyperbole to levels where productive discourse is rarely possible. Until the GOP moves back towards the center, not much will get done in Washington.

    2. No, Apple is simply a high-profile target which Congress is trying to use to distract the public from the fact that it is Congress’ fault the tax code is so screwed up.

      Nothing Apple does in taxes is a “loophole”. All of the tax codes Apple uses, especially Ireland’s tax code, was intentionally established by the countries’ respective governments. Apple is simply playing by the rules of the game, and Congress set those rules.

      Congress just doesn’t want to own up to its own mess (imagine that!).

  5. Before Microsoft ran into it it’s antitrust baloney they has something like four lobbyists in Washington. They quickly expanded that number of lobbyists into the hundreds and their problems gradually went away. Bribery by any other name…
    Cook on the other hand, used a novel defense-the truth. The change of tone in the senators probably came from poll number showing they were looking like idiots. After all, they are the very ones who wrote the tax code from hell that Apple is using to their advantage.

    1. You struck another reason why Apple is getting picked on — Apple doesn’t put much money into lobbying. So if you don’t line Congress’ pockets, you get called on the floor.

    1. I challenge anyone to come up with another CEO that could have done what Tim did. Maybe Larry Ellison. I couldn’t see Larry Page, Ballmer, Zuckerburg having TC’s poise and communication skill.

  6. Sometimes I wonder why you Americans elect a government at all. You have Never anything nice to say about them, you think they do a bad job what ever they do, they have too much power and is too big, politicians are only out for themselves, they can’t handle money, blah blah blah… It may be try but stop give a crap about democracy and shut the hell up then. Anyway. I find it amusing.

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