Cook says stock buybacks are less important than investing in the business. "But we do have a few dollars left over." On taxes, he says that Cook is the largest tax payer in the U.S., paying $35 billion in state and federal taxes. "I don't think anyone will say we're paying too few taxes."
Cook says we need comprehensive tax reform. "Anyone who has a corporation knows this is a mess."
"It's not smart for all these companies--including us--to have all this money offshore which can't be invested in the U.S."
Cook says that Apple isn't in the business of monitoring its users. "If law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user to get it." If Apple provided a back door for the feds, it's like putting a key under the mat--the bad guys can get it, too.
Cook says it's up to users to decide whether they're OK with the government having access to their data.
Question from the audience: Will there be a tipping point with people being bothered about what companies other than Apple are doing with data? Cook says that there will be an incident of some sort that opens people's eyes. "It's just a matter of what, and when it happens."
Audience member asks what happened to the 160GB iPod Classic. Cook says Apple couldn't get the parts anymore. You can buy an iPod Touch with almost as much space, and the audience for the Classic had gotten very small.
In answer to an audience question about prices, Cook says that Apple will go as low as it can without hurting quality.
Another audience member asks about Apple and health. Cook says he doesn't see Apple do something like cancer research. But in terms of wearables that help you monitor your health, that's right up Apple's alley.
Sadly, he's done with audience questions, Canadian68.
Baker asks Cook about Jack Ma. "I have the utmost respect for Jack. We love to work with people who are wicked smart" and have great teams. "Jack has a company that's exactly like that...I love partnering with people like that."
That's the end of Cook's interview and the WSJ.D sessions for tonight. Thanks, everyone--I'll also be reporting highlights tomorrow and Wednesday.
Good morning. I'm at the second day of the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, where tech columnists Joanna Stern and Geoffrey Fowler are kicking things off with some snappy patter. I'll report on highlights from the event during the day.
Venture capitalist (and browser pioneer) Marc Andreessen is onstage, talking Bitcoin with the Journal's Jonathan Krim. He says that if Bitcoin had existed twenty years ago, it would be part of the fabric of the Internet today. It's a fundamental breakthrough in computer science. But these things take a while to take off.
Andreessen: "The story of our times is in two things--globalization and technology. And I think they go hand in hand." When everybody in the world has a phone with high-speed Internet, in ten or twenty years, it'll change everything.
An iPhone is as powerful as a supercomputer 25 years ago, Andreessen says. The same thing will happen with networks--they'll get exponentially faster and cheaper. Krim argues that he's paying more for data these days; Andreessen says no, he's just using more of it these days.
Andreessen is talking about how the Net will change education. "Most kids in the world have never been in what we'd consider to be a modern school."
The ideas which failed to work in the first Net boom are coming back and succeeding, Andreessen says, like same-day delivery. "We had the ideas, but literally, the technology didn't work."
Andreessen says that companies like Uber aren't transportation apps--they're teleportation apps. "Press a button, and in 20 minutes you're somewhere else."
On wages, Andreessen says the big challenge is figuring out how everyone in the world can have the equivalent of an upper middle-class life. "The answer, I think, is technology." Points out that millions of people have come out of poverty and the standard of life in the U.S. went up 8x from 1900-2000.
Andreessen: "At any given time, there are lots of startups not working." Venture capital is about five companies that fail, five that do OK, and hopefully one or two that are hits.
Krim asks Andreessen about women in tech companies and whether they're hurt by the culture. Andreessen says that high-quality companies are doing OK on that front. "In general these firms are pretty good on this stuff. Could they do more? I think they probably could."
An audience member asks Andreessen how we should determine what the important tech questions which need answering are. Andreessen says that everyone at his firm spends a lot of time just debating that, and that he loves Twitter because it lets him keep arguing after everybody else has gone home.
A question from an executive at the Westfield shopping center change about the connection between the digital world and physical retail. Andreessen says it's an important area and mentions Apple's iBeacons and Foursquare (one of his investments). And devices like Apple Watch will be helpful.
Hugo Barra of Xiaomi, the booming Chinese phone maker, is onstage with the Journal's Rebecca Blumenstein. He says that Google calls people users, Microsoft calls them customers--but Xiaomi thinks of the people who buy its phones as fans. It wants to be a family, not a cult.
400,000 people comment in Xiaomi's forums a day. Millions are part of its beta program, which gives them experimental updates every Friday.
Xiaomi thinks of its phones as delivery vehicles for its software and services, Barra says. It doesn't regard itself as a hardware company.
Xiaomi is the third biggest ecommerce site in China. Approaching $10 billion a year. Sells 1000 different products.
Barra recently moved to Bangalore. India is a big new market for Xiaomi--it started with a flash sale of 10,000 units on July 22nd. 200,000 people showed up. The site went down. "We of course celebrated."
Blumenstein asks Xiaomi about the privacy implications of the company being Chinese. He says that Chinese companies are held to a higher standard, "and that's a good thing." It's opening data centers outside China, which helps with both performance and complying with local laws.
How does Barra feel about Jony Ive compalining about iPhone clones? "I don't think Jony mentioned the word 'Xiaomi. He's a very classy guy." Barra says there's no such thing as a product which isn't inspired by others, including Apple.
"We're a young company. We're four years old. We've only been shipping phones for three years. We're still learning how to innovate at scale."
Blumenstein asks Barra if he's worried about Android splintering, especially with Alibaba doing an operating system. Barra says that he hopes not, and that Xiaomi certainly isn't splintering it. Android has to continue to evolve as an open platform. "I don't think the world needs another operating system."
Blumenstein asks Barra about TV. He says they have a set-top box and a 4K smart TV based on Android, and ambitious plans for more.
Question from the audience about whether Xiaomi wants to do business-to-business products. No, says Barra, at least "for some time."
The conference is breaking now, but cohost Joanna Stern says that "Google is expected to make some significant news" when we pick up again at 10:30am PT.
Andrew Conrad of Google Life Sciences--part of Google X--is being interviewed onstage by Joanna Stern now.
Conrad's talking about nanoparticles--"the nexus between biology and engineering." Google is training them (they're magnetic) and "they can tell you what they saw."
You can send nanoparticles into the body via a pill, Conrad says, and then ask "Hey, what did you see? Did you see cancer? Did you see too much sodium?"
Nanoparticles let a doctor monitor your health continuously over time, not just when you go in for a checkup, Conrad says.