According to Cook, this fragmentation breaks down the Windows-Android metaphor. Microsoft was a far more homogenous competitor accross manufacturers, while the Android experience is all over the map. "Microsoft kept things the same, and the level of fragmentation wasn't as much," says Cook. Of course, Windows fragmentation was an issue back in the 90s and is still an issue for PC users today--particularly on the security front. However, Cook says the problem still doesn't compare to Android because "there weren't so many derivative works out there with Windows."
Everyone wants to be Apple
In one way or another, nearly all the major mobile manufacturers are taking their cues from Apple and wanting to take control of everything from software to retail.
"Everybody is attempting to adopt Apple's strategy," said Cook. And that bit of boasting is largely backed up by the business moves of the past year.
Even as Microsoft still attempts to push its Windows Phone operating system, the company has doubled down on hardware with its recent multi billion-dollar purchase of Nokia. Similarly, Google has continued its move away from its software roots with its purchase of Motorola Mobility. Conversely, Samsung appears to be interested in cultivating its own software ecosystem, holding its own developers conference for the first time. Let's not even mention everyone trying their hand at dedicated retail shops.
"We're not looking for external validation of our strategy, but I think it does suggest that there's a lot of copying, kind of, on the strategy and that people have recognized that importance."
Apple will innovate its way to survival
The peanut gallery has been sounding off on Apple's innovation problem since the late Steve Jobs stepped down from his leadership role. Whether the supposed innovation problem is actually a source of legitimate concern remains debateable, but it's at least something Cook is aware of.
Specifically, Cook points to the lesson of the once-dominant Nokia, which has been subsumed by Microsoft: "I think [Nokia] is a reminder to everyone in business that you have to keep innovating and that to not innovate is to die."
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