Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘U.S. will lose its leadership in technology’ unless more women are hired

“In a rare interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that society, including the tech community, is not moving fast enough on issues like equal rights and diversity,” Anita Balakrishnan reports for CNBC.

“‘I think the U.S. will lose its leadership in technology if this doesn’t change,’ Cook said to The Plainsman, the student newspaper at his alma mater,” Balakrishnan reports. “‘Women are such an important part of the workforce. If STEM-related fields continue to have this low representation of women, then there just will not be enough innovation in the United States. That’s just the simple fact of it,’ [Cook said].”

“Apple has pledged millions to support historically black colleges and universities, and also supports the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, National Center for Women & Information Technology and the National Society of Black Engineers,” Balakrishnan reports. “But as of June of last year, 32 percent of Apple employees are women, and 22 percent are underrepresented minorities, according to Apple’s website.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Would that such depth of thought and intensity of conviction have been given to certain Apple products and services over the last several years.

Hey, how about a woman CEO who not only understands and cares about professional Mac users, but who can also manage to ship and launch timely products on schedule with adequate supply?!

That said, as we wrote back in July 2014:

Diversity is good, but getting the absolute best should remain the goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some employees, consciously or unconsciously, consider certain employees, or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota? That would be a suboptimal result for all involved.

The best and desired outcome is for this to work in Apple’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool would result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized workforce would be capable of delivering.

Regardless and of course, someday it sure would be nice for everyone to just be able to evaluate a person’s potential, not measuring and tabulating superficial, meaningless things like skin color and gender.

Apple’s “Inclusion and Diversity” page is here.

Apple’s board has urged shareholders to reject proposal to tie executive compensation to racial diversity quotas – February 27, 2017
Apple Inc. fights shareholders group demand for more diversity – February 15, 2017
Apple’s Board of Directors says a call for diversity is ‘unduly burdensome and not necessary’ – January 15, 2016
Apple leads Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Google on gender diversity among Bay Area companies – November 17, 2015
Apple’s latest diversity report shows progress – August 13, 2015
Tim Cook is ‘personally involved’ in improving diversity at Apple Inc. – July 14, 2015
Apple donates over $50 million to diversity efforts – March 10, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook met privately with Jesse Jackson regarding diversity – December 9, 2014
Apple adds Vice Presidents, more diversity to Executive Leadership Team – August 15, 2014
A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook on diversity – August 12, 2014
Jesse Jackson calls on Obama to scrutinize tech industry’s ‘lack of diversity’ – July 28, 2014
Tim Cook: Apple will release diversity data ‘at some point’ – July 9, 2014
Jesse Jackson targets tech’s lack of diversity; sends letter to Apple, Google, HP, others – March 19, 2014
Apple changes bylaws after facing criticism about lack of diversity on board – January 9, 2014


  1. Weird that the US was the world’s economic powerhouse for 50 years with even less female representation than today. It’s almost like the two things have nothing to do with each other.

    1. Female representation in the workforce as a total was high back then, it was just not in higher positions. They did a lot of work in textiles and were the first ‘computers’ when the term referred to humans that performed calculations as their main job.

    2. Morgan,
      All we have to do to repeat that is arrange for a world war to devastate every other industrial country in the world while leaving the United States with enormous undamaged industrial capacity (and matching workforce) that could be converted to peacetime manufacturing.

  2. Diversity for the sake of diversity is stupid! How about hiring qualified applicants regardless of what they look like and put out some updated products.

    1. Better yet, hire qualified applicants that are able to work together regardless of what they look like even if their individual skills are slightly less than a better skilled candidate that is unable to work well with others.

    2. That’s what we’ve been asking for all along, but management hasn’t managed to do it without putting some new rules into place to regulate the hiring you’re talking about, because without guidelines they can’t help themselves; they’ll be regulated by their natural, unconscious biases, which leads to hiring less qualified, but more amenable applicants. Human nature is what it is, and it operates against corporate interests.

  3. like I wrote elsewhere:

    Steve Jobs Laser Focus. Jobs didn’t want Apple to do too much social work or charities (although he did it privately with his wife), under him Apple only matched staffers contributions. That is so that managers did not have to THINK about what charities to contribute too, he only wanted laser focus on PRODUCTS.

    Jobs did not even want to celebrate Apple’s 30th anniversary when staffers suggested a big bash with celebrities. He gave a short one line note dismissing it.

    People have argued with me that T.C might not spend a lot of time on social work but see… Jobs and SVPs didn’t have to spend much time on the 30th celebration’s organization either, flunkies could have set it up, but he knew IT WOULD SEND THE WRONG MESSAGE to everyone working at Apple. To him Apple Apple had to laser focus on PRODUCTS and the future.

    (Today we got SVPs making furniture, Christmas trees, Coffee Table books, Apple sponsoring fashion shows like the Met Gala (where Apple products are NOT front and centre) , constantly making speeches at NON TECH events , parties, and spend millions on weird stuff like Planet of the Apps etc etc )

    What is Tim Cook suggesting to his 100,000 staffers after Apple’s VERY unusual mea culpa on Macs and SVP’s saying they will try harder .. he doesn’t attend but goes out and gives speeches on ‘social’. If I was a staffer my impression is that to the boss Macs aren’t that important but social work is. My focus if I was a ‘management climber’ would be to focus on Social and not so much on stuff like the Apple TV remote…

    So the thing is .. IS Apple firing on cylinders today with shift and just product laser focus… On my side of ‘No’ I give you besides the Apple TV REMOTE there is also the desktop Mac line, the LG monitor, the months for the simple Wifi to be solved, the destruction of Apple’s presence in Education, the lagging in Cloud, Siri home integration, etc. Even revenues have been sagging (after continuous growth under Jobs), last quarter after several quarters it was up but due to the extra week in the quarter’s accounting…

  4. Lotta complaining here from folks that make less money with less successful companies than Tim Cook and Apple.

    Obviously the way to make a lot of money is to be a staunch Social Justice Warrior? All the big companies are doing it. Get with the program and get paid!

    1. note that 90+% of all revenues of Apple today are made by Products created by Steve Jobs.

      T.C after years has come up two new hardware platforms the Watch and Airpods (both iPhone ACCESSORIES) . the Watch and Airpods are good but Macs made almost twice the revenues of Watch, Apple TV, iPods, Airpods, Beats and accessories COMBINED (the ‘other products’ category in Apple’s financials).

      Tim cook has a tough job and is doing well in some respects but we can’t ignore the above.

      Also Apple’s financials have stalled. It was only up last quarter due to the extra week in the quarter.

      1. Completely wrong regarding last quarters financials. Comparative analysis for equal time periods still reflected record numbers. Analysts projections which were blown out were based on the extra week being included. You may have a good point regarding product development under Cook, but with respect to the financials you have no idea what you are saying. Next time stick to the pot and don’t take a meaningless potshot the isn’t backed up by the facts.

        1. “. Next time stick to the pot and don’t take a meaningless potshot the isn’t backed up by the facts.”

          why people call me names when you don’t know what you are talking about?


          Last quarter : Q4 2016 EPS weekly results EPS/14 = $3.36/14 = $0.24 per week.

          year before: Q4 2015 EPS weekly results EPS/13 = $3.28/13 = $0.252 per week.

          GET THAT? last quarter results 0.24 per week, quarter year before 0.25 per week. It went DOWN.

          Market watch Feb 2017:

          “Measured on a per-week basis, Apple’s revenue, iPhone sales, and EPS were all down on a year-over-year basis. In other words, without the extra week, Apple would likely have posted declines rather than increases for all three key metrics. ”

          comparison numbers by Thomas Kee:

          “In the fourth quarter of 2015 (what the company calls its fiscal first quarter), there were 13 weeks in which revenue and earnings were generated, one less than in the most recently reported period. See this table and this story.

          On a prorated basis, Apple would have needed to report earnings per share of about $3.53, higher than its reported EPS of $3.38 a share, to account for the extra week of business. (Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected $3.22.) Likewise, revenue would have to have come in at about $81 billion versus the reported $78.4 billion, which was a meager 3% increase anyway.”

          “Conclusion: Apple did not grow in Q4 2016 versus Q4 2015. In fact, the rate contracted.

          The only reason it seems as if Apple grew is that there was an extra week added to Q4 2016 results that was not there in Q4 2015. So the company had 7.6% more time to add to revenue and EPS, but instead the net result was a weekly run rate contraction of 4.11% and 4.76%, respectively.”

          1. Please Note the Above I’m only pasting the articles the Q4 2016 mentioned in the quotes is actually Apple’s Q1 2017 as stated in the text ““In the fourth quarter of 2015 (what the company calls its fiscal first quarter),”.

            the only thing that pushes the numbers back into T.C’s favour (a gain last quarter) is that the year before there was large half billion earned for one time patent infringement suit and some issues with channel inventory (which makes year to year comparison’s hard. ).

            On the other had Samsung’s self destruction over the burning phone might have aided iPhone (70% of Apple’s revenue) a lot in the last quarter which is also probably a one time gain like the patent suit.

            so to me the two one time events cancel each other.

            I’m an aapl investor, I want Apple to succeed and it’s great that people think apple had a great quarter and the stock is up but I’m only quoting the facts.

        1. Yes I’d go with Scott over Angela, even though she has CEO experience and Scott doesn’t, because Scott more closely resembles the brilliant, tempestuous, charismatic tyrant we had in Steve Jobs, and we need that chemical combination to blow the doors off this heaving, sighing, labouring conveyance we call Apple, and get back to the future.

  5. Why did Tim Cook think it was necessary to say what he did now? Was it to try to stir away from the real issues at Apple? Tim, let me help you. Hire the best. Be blind to race, gender, sexual preference and ethnic origin. Have an environment where these people can grow. Develop world class products for your customers for without them you have no company at all. Talk less, produce and lead more.

  6. Tim the idiot is at it again. He’s on social crusade high horse under Apple umbrella. Why doesn’t he do that on a personal basis and try to run Apple like, or somewhat like Steve did. Maybe, just maybe we would see some new and innovative products and regular updates to current products. Steve is trembling in his grave right now because of the way Timmy is running this company. I used to not like Apple products but have switched over in the last few years. Watching the molasses like pace of upgrades, especially to computers makes me want to go back to Windoze or better yet Linux. Run this company right and quit using it as a platform for your stupid crusades Tim.

  7. Cook should follow through on his own idea. Add coding centers in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Memphis. Staff each with a mix of 100 relocated Apple employees and 100 new hires. Solve his diversity problem while creating local incubators that would spread the wealth beyond privileged Bay area. Each satellite office could be round, so staff there could be iHoles as well.

  8. I did notice some good looking young Chinese babes when I visited the Apple campus 2 years ago. Guess the couldn’t find many qualified US females. STEM is the interests or strong suits of a minority of females in the US school system.

    1. Maybe it’s because we tend to be so nurturing and caring that we major in Nursing and Social Work and don’t fall for the male game of Proving You Wrong. But women are not all the same. A few of us like to work on weapon systems, video games, and telescope arrays, and are kick-ass in roller derby and baseball. Just saying. Beware peddling the stereotype that gets your jaw broken.

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