November 25, 2021
Tim Cook says he owns cryptocurrency
Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed that he has invested his personal money in cryptocurrency during a discussion today at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference. “I think it’s reasonable to own it as part of a diversified portfolio,” the CEO said during a conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I’m not giving anyone investment advice, by the way,” he quickly followed up, without specifying which specific cryptocurrencies he has invested in.
“I’ve been interested in it for a while. I’ve been researching it and so forth … I think it’s interesting,” the CEO continued.
Although Cook confirmed his own investment in cryptocurrency, he was a lot more guarded about Apple’s plans as a company. He ruled out investing the company’s cash balance in cryptocurrency, and he said that Apple has no plans to allow people to use it to buy its products “in the immediate future.” But the CEO did tease that “there are other things that we’re definitely looking at” when it comes to cryptocurrency, without announcing any specific plans.
When asked about NFTs, Cook said that he finds them “interesting” but that “it will take a while to play out in a way that is for the mainstream person.” If you’re still confused as to what exactly an NFT is, then I can’t recommend this explainer from my colleague Mitchell Clark enough.
During the approximately half-hour-long conversation, Tim Cook was asked about other major topics that have affected Apple in recent months, including its high-profile court battle with Epic Games. When asked whether users should be given the choice to install apps from sources other than Apple’s App Store by processes such as sideloading, the CEO reiterated that Apple thinks its approach is best for security.
“If you want to sideload, you can buy [an] Android phone. That choice exists when you go into the carrier shop,” the CEO said. “If that’s important to you, then you should buy an Android phone.” He went on to liken allowing users to sideload their own apps on iPhone to being like an automaker selling a car without airbags or seat belts. “It’s just too risky to do that,” he said. “It wouldn’t be an iPhone if it didn’t maximize security and privacy.”
Cook’s comments came less than a week after Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi made similar arguments during a speech at this year’s Web Summit. The company has also put out multiple reports this year, all of which argue that allowing users to install software not vetted by the App Store review process risks exposing their phones to malware and other security threats. According to Apple, its policy against sideloading keeps iOS malware low compared to other platforms like Android.
Although it’s firmly against allowing sideloading on its mobile platforms, the same isn’t true on Apple’s Mac computers, where users have much more flexibility with the software they install. Critics claim that Apple could adopt a similar approach for the iPhone and use a system like macOS’s Gatekeeper to check whether an app contains known malware or whether a developer’s signing certificate is revoked. But Apple argues that this approach wouldn’t be appropriate, both because iPhones are used to store more personal information and because the approach has led to an unacceptable level of malware on the Mac. For what it’s worth, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wasn’t convinced of these arguments during the Apple v. Epic trial.