U.S. Senate Republican Marco Rubio hits Tim Cook for kowtowing to China

“Apple and Tim Cook are again under fire for their relationship with the Chinese government,” Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac. “Following criticism from Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida today slammed Tim Cook for his appearance at the state-run World Internet Conference.”

“Rubio’s comments were made at a hearing entitled ‘The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism with Chinese Characteristics,'” Miller reports. “Speaking during the hearing, Rubio cited Apple as a prime example of a United States company vying for ‘desperate access to the Chinese marketplace.'”

“Rubio quipped that Apple is ‘so desperate to have access to the Chinese marketplace’ that it is willing to forgo its values in the United States “because there’s a lot of money to be made” in China,” Miller reports. “He further pointed to Apple’s continued attempts to ‘lecture us about free speech and human rights and domestic problems.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in February regarding a Harris Poll that found that corporate reputations can become politically polarized:

Choosing a side on virtually any issue, whether it be corporate taxes, App Store approvals, gun emojis, or H1-B visas risks alienating +/-50% of your potential customer base.

Companies, especially those with excellent scores currently, should be wary of the risk. CEOs themselves should be cognizant that not every one of their employees shares their views on every single topic and that, by presuming to speak for the company instead of merely for themselves, they risk tainting their company’s brand with +/-50% of the company’s potential customer base.

Some people have said that I shouldn’t get involved politically because probably half our customers are Republicans… so I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff.Apple CEO Steve Jobs, August 25, 2004

U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy blast Apple CEO Tim Cook for removing VPN apps from App Store in China – October 20, 2017
Apple issues statement regarding removal of VPN apps from China App Store – July 31, 2017
Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
Apple sets up China data center to meet new cybersecurity rules – July 12, 2017
Analyst: China iPhone sales are pivotal for Apple – June 26, 2017
In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
Will Apple CEO Tim Cook stand up to China over App Store censorship? – April 19, 2017
Beijing cyber regulators to summon Apple over live streaming apps – April 19, 2017
Apple goes on charm offensive in China with red iPhones and a visit by CEO Tim Cook – March 24, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook defends globalization, walks tightrope on privacy in rare public speech in China – March 18, 2017
Apple to spend $507 million to set up two more research centers, boost investment in in China – March 17, 2017
Harris Poll: Corporate reputations can become politically polarized – February 9, 2017
Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017
China dethrones U.S. to become the largest market in the world for iOS App Store revenue – October 20, 2016
Apple to set up second R&D center in China – October 12, 2016
Apple’s first R&D Center in China will develop hardware, employ 500 – September 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook ‘pretty confident’ of soon resuming movie and book sales in China – May 3, 2016
Apple’s biggest China problem: iPhone’s strong encryption – May 2, 2016
The New Yorker: What Apple has to fear from China – April 30, 2016
Carl Icahn out of Apple over worries about China’s ‘dictatorship’ government – April 29, 2016
China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert – April 25, 2016
China’s increasing censorship hits Apple, but Apple might punch back – April 22, 2016
China shutters Apple’s online book and movie services – April 22, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors – April 6, 2016


        1. Talking of gross hypocrisy, Trump and the republicans just did the biggest arms deal ever with Saudi Arabia – which also has an appalling human rights record including systematic persecution of Shias, extrajudicial killings, systematic torture as part of the prison regime, public floggings…sometimes thousands of lashes, flogging female victims of rape…
          How inconvenient.

  1. I agree with mdn on this issue. Cook should have learned from one of the best. Steve Jobs.

    Stop getting involved in political issues and simply stay involved with your work. It keeps things simpler.

    1. Could you please explain, in simple words for those of us who clearly aren’t as bright as you are, how a multinational corporation worth almost a trillion dollars doing business in two hundred countries (give or take) stays out of politics?

      “Just stay involved with your work” involves things like hiring employees, which means you have to get involved in labor law issues like hiring discrimination and work visas. Those “political issues” don’t go away if you ignore them… they just bite you harder.

      Unless you are willing to kiss off the other 199 countries, “your work” involves international trade issues… which are not going to break in your direction if you don’t give them a push. That is inherently political.

      “Your work” involves dealing with national and international tax policy. There is nothing more political.

      Apple can choose to follow local law in each country where it does business or it can pull out of the countries that won’t pass “acceptable” laws. Obeying the law is a political choice. Asking those countries to change their laws is political. Making the choice to pull out of a market and let your former employees and customers bear the costs is also political. There is no choice that is not political, but making some choice is clearly part of “your work” if you are the CEO of a multinational company.

      If you think Steve Jobs never got involved in politics, you are probably nostalgic for the days when The Two Steves built computers by hand in a garage.

      1. I also agree with MDN and do as Steve practiced to STAY OUT OF POLITICS!

        Reading your most ridulucous post ever, you WRONGLY have politics ON THE BRAIN at every turn and under every rock mislabeling business decisions, taxation and following local laws as political. Nonsense.

        Also noticed you do not DEFINE POLITICS everywhere you mention they exist. Just a broad brushed generalized excuse for Apple …

        1. Both going to China and not going to China for political reasons is political. Going there to encourage commercial interests for your company is the job of all the company’s officers. 50 years of ignoring Cuba commercially didn’t do Americans or Cuba any good. China is too big too ignore commercially.

        2. Um no…the ridicule is all yours. Along with a poor education, a staggeringly basic understanding of geopolitical and sociopolitical aspects of doing international business and an ‘reductio ab adsurdum’ notion that anything political is a binary choice.
          I’d say get out more as a remedy, but maybe staying in your basement is safer for all.

      2. @TxUser

        The comments on this site are getting more and more difficult to endure. Your question seemed reasonable, and although I often disagree with you, it is telling that some of the responses to your post can be categorized as just insults without substance. Why have gotten to this point?
        Insults do not win arguments.
        Changing the subject does not win arguments.

        They just make the insulter look less intelligent because they want to believe what they want to believe. Makes me wonder why we are doing this to each other. Are the poster on this site really so entrenched that they can not have an intelligent dialog?

        Webster Definition of politics

        a : the art or science of government
        b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
        c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government
        2 : political actions, practices, or policies
        a : political affairs or business; especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)
        b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession
        c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices
        4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person
        a : the total complex of relations between people living in society
        b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view office politics ethnic politics

      1. A brief history of the democrat party:
        • The Civil War – Jefferson Davis, democrat.
        • Founding of the Ku Klux Klan – democrats
        • Creation of the Federal Reserve – Woodrow Wilson, democrat
        • Creation of the Federal Income Tax – Woodrow Wilson, democrat
        • World War I – Woodrow Wilson, democrat
        • Creation of Planned Parenthood – Margaret Sanger, democrat
        • The Great Depression – Franklin Roosevelt, democrat
        • World War II – Franklin Roosevelt, democrat
        • Internment of American citizens – Franklin Roosevelt, democrat
        • Creation of the CIA – Harry Truman, democrat
        • The Korean War – Harry Truman, democrat
        • The Vietnam War – Klansman Lyndon Johnson, democrat
        • The creation of La Raza, Black Lives Matter & Antifa – democrats.

        The democrats: The party of war, hate, death, poverty and lies.

        1. oh, botty….

          .did you somehow overlook the fact that the great depression started BEFORE franklin roosevelt was elected, or that the three previous presidents who spanned the excesses of the roaring 20’s that set the stage for the depression all happened to be republicans ?

          and even herbert hoover who was no dope couldn’t figure a way out of the part of the depression he presided over.

          and while franklin roosevelt presided over the onset and most of the the rest of second world war, it came to him, much as it would have come to anyone who was president in that general time frame – the japanese and the germans had plans for us, just maybe a little further down the road.

          better that it happened when it did rather than later when they would have been much stronger, without us the british would have gone under and herr hitler would have had a free hand in russia, with no fear of a two front war or american bombers disrupting his war production

            1. the depression was world wide, not just in the usa.

              nobody got out of it until the war was over. and even when it was over, considering the destruction it wrought, we were pretty much the only ones who did get out of it.

              it took another decade plus for anybody else to crawl out of that mess

              post war we represented 50% of the worlds gross domestic product

              you forgot that part.

            2. well, ….

              not to detract from dwight, who i think was our best and most sane president in my lifetime, but…..

              the “post war” period started in september 1945, not in january 1953 when he took office.

              plus it would have been pretty hard for him or any other president not to have enjoyed that level of economic dominance.

              that was already baked in considering most of the rest of the industrialized world was in ruins and its work force badly depleted.

              but, he did well, for the most part, as did the nation even though, during his administration the top marginal tax rate on the wealthy was at 90%… not to put too fine a point on

            3. This guy is a russian. He does not know the name of the party he is railing against.

              I hope my fellow Americans will not think of this as aid to the enemy. The party in called The Democratic Party.

              botviinnik this is for you and rest of your russian colleagues.
              Otherwise if you know this already, perhaps your mommy will get you some big boy pants, and tell you not to be so lazy and use the correct full name, you will sound more intelligent if you do. Then again, your mommy may just think of you as her little fool. i guess we will see.

        2. A briefer history of the Republican Party.
          …brought to you by Marco “I’m not a scientist. I don’t know how old the earth is but I know what the bible says” Rubio.

  2. Personally, I hope that Apple does not get caught with China being the sole or main source of its products.

    Time to diversity production into other countries and areas of the world. If it is not economical to bringing it back home into the USA, then how about Mexico? This will take time, so the best time to start was 10 years ago. The next best time is today.

  3. Marco Rubio is a weasel and the worst kind of politician who practices situational morality. He is out for himself and whomever bankrolls him at the moment. Washington could do with fewer people like this regardless of party.

    Apple as a public company has certain responsibilities to shareholders and that would include executive and Board decisions. China is the largest consumer market on Earth and has a rapidly growing middle class that are exactly where Apple’s market lies. Ignoring them would be to walk away from massive business opportunity.

    Were the world a perfect place, Apple would not do business with China. We all know the world is far from a perfect place and any CEO opting out of business with China would be open for lawsuits or termination. This is the direct result of various Trade Deals signed by Presidents of both Parties and approved by Congress during times of control of both parties.

    We founded the WTO and invited China to join. We also have given MFN status to China and long waived “buy American” requirements that are official US policy and in some cases law.

    Marco Rubio knows something about kowtowing- to the Cuban migrant population of South Florida. He was all for the longtime policy that let Cubans have a special status as illegal immigrants.

      1. Ok, I have now asked this question well over a dozen times, and you have refused to answer it every time:

        What, specifically, do you think that Tim Cook should do that would both satisfy your moral outrage at Chinese public policy and satisfy his fiduciary duty to the corporation he heads?

        Repeatedly telling us to fire Tim Cook is really easy unless you can suggest some practical way that his successor could do better on this issue.

        1. I have no doubt you are capable of answering the question. I do doubt that I would find your answer any more convincing than your argument that a corporation should (or even can) ignore the political aspects of taxation and local laws. If you want my definition of politics, read Aristotle (not generally considered a “libtard”). I will never hear yours because you dodge every tough question.

          As I say, you are probably capable of answering—you just don’t want to because being specific would allow others to offer constructive criticism of your ideas. It is much, much easier to simply offer negative comments without ever offering a positive suggestion. Tearing down requires so much less thought and energy than building up, don’t you know? That is essentially the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          Maybe that is why our party has controlled all three branches of government on both the federal level and in a majority of states for the last year and has accomplished essentially didly-squat. It is a lot harder to pass constructive legislation than to blame everything on a man who hasn’t been President for 17 years and his wife who hasn’t been in government for 5 years.

          If you had a single positive contribution to American society, you would offer it. You are perfectly capable of doing so, you’re just too lazy.

        2. Goeb wants Cook to accompany Trump when Trump goes to China and prostrates himself before Xi.

          Amazing how Trump couldn’t manage to make any tough talking speeches when he was begging China to offer better trade deals. Trump walked away empty handed.

        3. Playing the ‘straight-man’ to an empty vessel echo chamber is hard…really hard. Full marks for trying. Of course you will not get any sensible answer. Sycophants, lap dogs and deplorables couldn’t care less for facts, reasoning or consensus. Extremism has only one setting – delusion.

      2. I wish they were in China, but if you or I were in Cook’s shoes and we did not, we could be sued by shareholders or removed from the board for cause.

        The US made a moral decision after the Tiananmen Square incident (六四事件) and went with the dictatorship instead of the Democracy movement- Poppy Bush made it and all Presidents after went along until this very day.
        Not long after we moved to put China among our preferred trading partners (MFN status) and put them in the WTO. Since then, China has been playing the US for stupid and our government has been going along at the expense of our people.

    1. I shake my head at how USA politicians keep trying to hurt USA firms to collect (stupid) voter points. Other countries like China, Korea, India, the EU countries etc bend over backwards to support and protect their own companies knowing it is in the national interest — Apple is the single largest taxpayer in the USA, employs over 60000 directly in USA, many more indirectly ( the politicians in those other places must be shaking or laughing their heads off)

      (typing this still on my 5 week vacation in Asia )

      ( don’t really want to debate the ‘freedom’ stuff but as Tim Cook has carefully stated in his recent video interview Apple obeys local laws and it’s better to ‘engage’ and thus advocate change than stand outside and scream with no result. I also note USA politicians in the govt. has borrowed a Trillion dollars from China — which dwarfs companies like apple’s behaviour in ‘sucking up to china’ )

  4. Hypocrisy is the human condition. Both Tim Cook and Marco Rubio, being humans, suffer from it.

    So do every one of us.

    Tim Cook’s political posturing in public – on any topic whatsoever – is bad for Apple, because it risks stockholder equity. If he wants to be an SJW on his own, then he should be on his own.

    If Marco Rubio wants to criticize someone for their relationship with China, then he should hang a mirror over the Senate chamber and look into it every once in a while to remind himself that he and his colleagues bear much of the responsibility for the moral chaos in which our country finds itself.

    (And yes, I know that I’m commenting where I have little or no competence to do so; but we’re just talking here, right?)

    1. “Tim Cook’s political posturing in public – on any topic whatsoever – is bad for Apple, because it risks stockholder equity.”
      Well, in the real world, that is debatable…and then only just so, being that APPL has only risen in value since TC took charge. I mean, how much more does Apple and the guy leading it, have to do to convince that their joint efforts have been staggering? Where is the evidence that Tim Cook’s tenure along with his public persona, is in any way damaging shareholders equity. In any way…whatsoever?
      It’s a genuine question from a looongtime APPL shareholder.
      Outside of the political and gender corrupt corner of the web_verse that is MDN, Apple is rightly lauded for it’s commitment to socio-political and economic principles, it’s stance on low carbon renewable energy production, environmental awareness including pollution and global warming (where the US is the only holdout)…in most of the rest of the world in fact, where ‘realpolitik’ is anathema. And incidentally the majority of Apple’s wealth is created outside the US. In the strictest sense of the word, Apple is a World Company. It outgrew it’s own backyard and now must reflect world opinion.
      It would be extreme naively to hold Apple to ‘only’ current US minority sentiments.

      1. “Where is the evidence that Tim Cook’s tenure along with his public persona, is in any way damaging shareholders equity.”

        I’ve got three pieces of evidence: Two brothers and one sister who will not purchase an Apple product EVER precisely because of activist politics. I’m sure they are not the only three on planet Earth.

        Obviously, without interviewing billions of people personally, there is no way to know accurately quantify the actual numbers. But they do exist.

        MDN in a take weeks ago mentioned Ballmer could ride the iPhone gravy train company which is telling that any number of CEOs could take the helm. That is what saves Cook’s job in light of increasingly delayed products, neglected products, killing products/software and the increasingly typical buggy software releases …

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