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This is Tim: Cook at the 2013 Goldman Sachs conference

Macworld staff | Feb. 13, 2013
On cash balances

And so frankly, I find it bizarre that we would find ourselves being sued for doing something that's good for shareholders. But this is the position that we're in. I think it's a silly sideshow, honestly. My preference would be that everyone on both sides of the issue would take the money they're spending on this and donate it to a worthy cause. I think that would be a lot better use of funds. But what we're going to do--you're not going to see us do a campaign mailing. We're not doing it. You're not going to see a "Yes on 2" sign in my front yard.

This is a waste of shareholder money, and it's a distraction, it's not a seminal issue for Apple. And that said, I support it, Prop 2, I'm personally going to vote for it. I believe it's the right thing for shareholders to have the right on this particular topic, I encourage others to vote for it, but it's not something we're going to spend cycles on. The serious issue at hand is the return of cash--how to do it, how much to do--it's that and we're very serious about that. But this Prop 2 thing is a silly sideshow.

On acquisitions

If you look at the last three years, we've averaged about an acquisition every other month. The kind of companies that we've purchased have been companies where they have really smart people and/or IP [intellectual property]. Generally speaking, we've in many cases taken something that they're working on and moved the skills to work on something else. Great example: We bought a company called PA Semi back two years ago, and we were in the process of building our capability to make the engines--to design the engines that are in today's, all of today's iPhones and iPads and iPod touches. And so this was an incredibly skilled group of guys and they could supplement an incredible group of folks that were already in Apple. They were working on PowerPC at the time, and so we didn't have an interest in that, so we moved skills to work on our iPhone and iPad and iOS device engines.

That's a great example of what we've done. And we've done many many others that are similar in nature to that. We will do more of those, and we're constantly looking in the market for things to do. We really like to control the primary technology behind the products that we're in, and so we're constantly looking at that.

In terms of large acquisitions, we have looked at large companies. In each case thus far, it didn't pass our test. It didn't pass our test for various reasons, and we've looked at more than one. Would we look again? I'm sure we will. Is there a reason why we couldn't do that? No. I think we have the management talent and depth to do it. But we're disciplined and thoughtful and we don't feel a pressure to just go out and acquire revenue. We want to make great products, and that's what we're about. And so if a large company could help us do that even better, than that would be of interest. But again, deliberate, thoughtful is our mantra. The cash is not burning a hole in our pocket.

 

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