Tech investor urges Apple CEO Tim Cook to publicly voice company values amid protests

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
Billionaire tech investor and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla this week called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak out on the company's values as protests over the killing of George Floyd rage across the U.S.

Cook


Khosla in a tweet Monday urged Cook to publicly address the ongoing protests which were sparked by the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. The incident once again shined a light on racial injustice in America, with many around the world joining in movements of their own to protest excessive use of police force.

"It's easy to support equality & justice for all decent folks," Khosla's tweet reads. "It's when one has to give up something to support it that belief in our real values show up. @tim_cook easy to talk but why do you suck up to @realDonaldTrump? Memo's to employees is easy. Please retweet."

Despite ideological differences, Cook has met with Trump on numerous occasions to parlay on topics ranging from the administration's China tariffs to education and America's economic health. Apple in November invited Trump to tour a partner manufacturing plant in Texas in the buildup to the launch of Mac Pro, one of very few Apple products to be assembled in the U.S.

Responding to critics who accuse Cook of kowtowing to a right-leaning regime, the executive has in the past said engagement with government entities is an effective method of forwarding critical issues.

As for the ongoing protests, Khosla in a follow-up tweet asked, "Do you,@tim_cook support being aggressive with protestors? [ ] Would you be willing to speak up beyond memo to employees? Is this unifying the country?"

In a memo to employees on Sunday, Cook voiced support for minorities and those challenging racial injustice. He went on to tout Apple's efforts to forward diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but noted "we must do more."

"To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored," Cook wrote. "Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To our colleagues in the Black community -- we see you. You matter, your lives matter, and you are valued here at Apple."

Business Insider reported on Khosla's tweets earlier today.

In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Apple on Tuesday participated in the #BlackoutTuesday campaign by pausing Beats 1 radio programming and replacing prominent Apple Music sections with blacked out graphics.

"In steadfast support of the Black voices that define music, creativity, and culture, we use ours," a message on Apple Music's Browse page reads. "This moment calls upon us all to speak and act against racism and injustice of all kinds. We stand in solidarity with Black communities everywhere."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    trashman69trashman69 Posts: 161member
    I thought Tim’s letter was enough.

    What more does this dude want?   Mr. Cook already ranks super high on the virtuous scale.
    chasmtoysandmeJWSCRayz2016cornchipaderuttermuthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 2 of 21
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,553member
    This is a tough one.

    I don't believe that any rational person would fault Tim Cook for attempting to maintain a semblance of a dialog with an adversary, regardless of how repugnant he personally feels the person he's having to deal with really is. Retreating to one's corner and hurling insults and condemnation from afar at the perceived enemy will only escalate the conflict. Tim Cook is morally and fiscally responsible for trying to find a workable compromise in the face of the many challenges he faces with the current administration and political climate. 

    Showing up at the negotiating table is not "sucking up" or "kowtowing to extremism." It's a demonstrable and pragmatic attempt to make things better under extremely difficult circumstances. It's an expression of hope and unwillingness to blindly accept defeat at the hands of an aggressor. As long as both sides are talking and engaging in a dialog, there is always the possibility of a compromise.
      
    chasmtoysandmeroundaboutnowJWSClolliverGraham'sNumberaderuttermuthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 3 of 21
    If Tim has to publicly state that not one Apple employee thinks that George Floyd’s murder was warranted, then this guy has bigger problems.  I do know one thing:  Protesters <> Rioters
    edited June 2020 jony0
  • Reply 4 of 21
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,431member
    Tim's approach to both the last administration and this one has been nothing short of Jedi-level masterful. Americans forget quickly, but there were trade issues and political grandstanding and other "hostile headwinds" long before the present administration moved in, Apple spends the least of any of the big four on lobbying, and believe it or not they caught some hell for even that back in the Bush Jr days.

    Apple has, with rare exception, floated above most of the fray with the grace of a tango dancer in a minefield (and the times when it didn't were almost entirely brought to us via a misguided EC, a moribund Congress, a corrupted DOJ -- the latter again dating back well before 2016, but ongoing -- and a biased NY judge). Tim Cook and his diplomacy with a fellow who (heh) "thinks different" on a lot of Tim's and Apple's values and causes is the reason why most Apple products have little to no tariffs on them right now, and why Apple has been able to maintain its margins despite the many headwinds Washington. Tim Cook is the reason why Apple has so much credibility and success with both parties and the populace in this incredibly turbulent time, and Tim Cook is the reason why Apple's stock is likely to hit an all-time high (again) during a pandemic, world unrest, a trade war, and an oncoming and likely global recession.

    Steve's judgement in picking Tim ranks right up there with the best ideas he ever had. Even among the outstanding team of executives past and present at Apple, I cannot think of one that would turned out to be such a champion of good corporate citizenship, overcoming obstacles through shrewd forward thinking,  and getting all sides to listen and respect what he has to say. I have not always been sure he'd be good in this role, but both my heart and my accountant have since told me Steve was right -- he was the perfect guy to take over the revived Apple.
    larryjwroundaboutnowbeowulfschmidtmuthuk_vanalingamjony0tmay
  • Reply 5 of 21
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,291member
    To Khosla....

    What do you believe in?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 21
    macbootxmacbootx Posts: 72member
    Khosla obviously hasn’t watched “The Godfather”...
    lolliveraderuttermuthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 7 of 21
    DoctorQDoctorQ Posts: 52member
    Tim Cook is Neville Chamberlain <s>

    mtriviso
  • Reply 8 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    To Khosla....

    What do you believe in?
    LOL... good question. This is the guy who spent a fortune (and 12 years) with a mega lawsuit he filed over the fact that ordinary people might try and cross his private beach while they traversed by foot from one public beach to another.... The same guy that the NYT called “... aggressive, shameless, obsessive...” over this issue: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/technology/vinod-khosla-beach.html

    And he presumes to give Tim Cook advice on social conscience and empathy. Give me a break.

    Spoiler alert: The Supreme Court (yeah, it went all the way to the SCOTUS) threw out his case, i.e., he finally lost.
    citpekschasmsvanstrombeeble42cornchipmuthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 9 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,224member
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    beeble42cornchipaderuttersmalmjeffythequick
  • Reply 10 of 21
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,431member
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Not only do I disagree wholeheartedly with this view (it is readily apparent that businesses have things they value in addition to simple commerce, i.e. values either benign or malevolent towards society), but it factually incorrect as well: in the US at least, a corporation is legally a person — albeit a special class of “person,” with all the rights and privileges (and then some) but none of the responsibilities of a citizen.

    In addition, individuals can incorporate, so again your view clashes with reality.
    prismaticsjony0Ofer
  • Reply 11 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I thought Tim’s letter was enough.

    What more does this dude want?   Mr. Cook already ranks super high on the virtuous scale.
    What he wants is to build his public profile by tagging Apple in a random complaint. 

    Cook has sent a memo of support to employees and backed that up with a hefty donation to organisations associated with civil rights. 
    He has committed Apple Music to the industry blackout, and has championed minority rights to the point that the right-wingers around here have actually come to believe that middle-aged white men are being ignored. 

    It’s a fine line Cook has to walk. It’s not all about him. 
    edited June 2020 muthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    chasm said:
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Not only do I disagree wholeheartedly with this view (it is readily apparent that businesses have things they value in addition to simple commerce, i.e. values either benign or malevolent towards society), but it factually incorrect as well: in the US at least, a corporation is legally a person — albeit a special class of “person,” with all the rights and privileges (and then some) but none of the responsibilities of a citizen.

    In addition, individuals can incorporate, so again your view clashes with reality.
    Absolutely.  These days people will feel less comfortable dealing with companies that don’t share those values. 
    jony0
  • Reply 13 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,224member
    chasm said:
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Not only do I disagree wholeheartedly with this view (it is readily apparent that businesses have things they value in addition to simple commerce, i.e. values either benign or malevolent towards society), but it factually incorrect as well: in the US at least, a corporation is legally a person — albeit a special class of “person,” with all the rights and privileges (and then some) but none of the responsibilities of a citizen.

    In addition, individuals can incorporate, so again your view clashes with reality.
    A person? Not really. Not really at all. A corporation does not have all the rights and privileges (and then some) of an actual person. A corporation can’t go and vote for example. It does not have a right to an education. 
    I think the term you are looking for is entity, which is subject to corporate law. And because it is in the end just a bunch of people getting together to do business, not all those people would hold the same views on any social issue.  It isn’t as though someone with shares in company x would as a consequence have to vote for candidate y.

    Values for a corporation is marketing to a large extent, because at the end of the day they just want you to buy their stuff. There is always that thought in the back of one’s mind that they are just telling you what you want to hear so you will buy their stuff. 
    OTOH I also think the importance of values to a company is a fairly recent development as companies have become so large they are almost like a country in themselves. I am not sure I am comfortable with executives outside the democratic system wielding such influence.
    cornchipsmalmmuthuk_vanalingamanantksundaramshark5150
  • Reply 14 of 21
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,903member
    It's up to Tim to decide what to do of his own free will and wearing whatever hat he chooses (citizen, CEO...) .

    Being pushed and prodded publicly by a third party should be ignored. Hounding people who have no real reason to pronounce one way or another is bad in itself. 

    The root issues here have nothing to do with Apple or its business and Apple cannot really bring about any major change in the situation anyway.

    The vast majority of people have an idea of the issues that brought about this situation. Some will feel the need to speak on the subject, others will protest publicly, while others may choose to do nothing and say nothing. 

    Not doing or saying anything publicly is an option we should all enjoy of our own free will. People shouldn't be publicly naming and trying to force a reaction out of people who are neither here nor there with regards to what happened and the aftermath. 

    If Tim decides to make a public statement, fine. If he doesn't, fine again. 






    muthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 15 of 21
    kamiltonkamilton Posts: 283member
    Tim has done what needs be done.  Tim has managed to have a relationship with president for a longer period than anyone that’s been in his cabinet.  He’s walking the tightrope and looking after Apple, through very difficult times and there are more big challenges to come this year.  Tim isn’t a mouthpiece for Vinod Khosla or anyone for that matter.  
    plype11aderutterjony0dewme
  • Reply 16 of 21
    If Tim did more than he’s done he’d probably get slapped with a nuisance suit from pissed off shareholders. Apple typically supports socially liberal positions but embraces toxic neoliberal policy when it comes to taxes. Apple says they support black peoples rights, but lobby democrats and republicans for lower taxes, meaning less resources in government to fund education, training of police to not be racist garbage, funding lawyers for poor people who are wrongfully accused. 

    Apple is one of the best companies, but they are still Americans which means they don’t support funding a government that works for everyone. 
  • Reply 17 of 21
    OferOfer Posts: 263unconfirmed, member
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Sadly the US Supreme Court has voted otherwise. In this country corporations are viewed as people in the eyes of the law.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,553member
    entropys said:
    chasm said:
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Not only do I disagree wholeheartedly with this view (it is readily apparent that businesses have things they value in addition to simple commerce, i.e. values either benign or malevolent towards society), but it factually incorrect as well: in the US at least, a corporation is legally a person — albeit a special class of “person,” with all the rights and privileges (and then some) but none of the responsibilities of a citizen.

    In addition, individuals can incorporate, so again your view clashes with reality.
    A person? Not really. Not really at all. A corporation does not have all the rights and privileges (and then some) of an actual person. A corporation can’t go and vote for example. It does not have a right to an education. 
    I think the term you are looking for is entity, which is subject to corporate law. And because it is in the end just a bunch of people getting together to do business, not all those people would hold the same views on any social issue.  It isn’t as though someone with shares in company x would as a consequence have to vote for candidate y.

    Values for a corporation is marketing to a large extent, because at the end of the day they just want you to buy their stuff. There is always that thought in the back of one’s mind that they are just telling you what you want to hear so you will buy their stuff. 
    OTOH I also think the importance of values to a company is a fairly recent development as companies have become so large they are almost like a country in themselves. I am not sure I am comfortable with executives outside the democratic system wielding such influence.
    I think a more accurate description would be that Tim Cook has to operate within the confines of the "Role" that he serves as CEO of Apple. For a publicly held company in particular the Role should be a dominant influence over the Person. There are explicit requirements that a person must fulfill in his or her role as CEO. There are also norms that are expected by shareholders of the CEO even if such things are not explicitly stated. 

    I personally believe that all public servants at every level should be subservient and accountable to the Roles that they serve, and that no person is bigger or more important than the Role they serve. This is one of the reasons why an elected official should generally be respected within the context of the Role they serve, whether you voted for them or not. You can respect the Role even if you do not respect the Person.

    Unfortunately some elected officials seem to believe that they are a person larger than the Role they serve. They neither hold themselves accountable for following the requirements of the Role, and much less, adhering to norms associated with the Role. But just like the board of directors can vote out a non-complaint CEO who views themself as bigger than the Role they serve, voters in a democracy can vote out a non-compliant public servant who views themself as bigger or more important than their Role.  
  • Reply 19 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    entropys said:
    chasm said:
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Not only do I disagree wholeheartedly with this view (it is readily apparent that businesses have things they value in addition to simple commerce, i.e. values either benign or malevolent towards society), but it factually incorrect as well: in the US at least, a corporation is legally a person — albeit a special class of “person,” with all the rights and privileges (and then some) but none of the responsibilities of a citizen.

    In addition, individuals can incorporate, so again your view clashes with reality.
    A person? Not really. Not really at all. A corporation does not have all the rights and privileges (and then some) of an actual person. A corporation can’t go and vote for example. It does not have a right to an education. 
    I think the term you are looking for is entity, which is subject to corporate law. And because it is in the end just a bunch of people getting together to do business, not all those people would hold the same views on any social issue.  It isn’t as though someone with shares in company x would as a consequence have to vote for candidate y.

    Values for a corporation is marketing to a large extent, because at the end of the day they just want you to buy their stuff. There is always that thought in the back of one’s mind that they are just telling you what you want to hear so you will buy their stuff. 
    OTOH I also think the importance of values to a company is a fairly recent development as companies have become so large they are almost like a country in themselves. I am not sure I am comfortable with executives outside the democratic system wielding such influence.
    The best post of not just this thread, but of all AI posts for a very long time.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,407member
    Ofer said:
    entropys said:
    I actually do not agree with corporations having positions on issues. Individuals certainly, Tim Cook can tell his views on any number of things. But a corporation is just a bunch of people getting together to do business. It exists for no other purpose. A corporation is not a jurisdiction, it is not a government.
    Sadly the US Supreme Court has voted otherwise. In this country corporations are viewed as people in the eyes of the law.
    It’s a somewhat more complicated ruling, involving the right to commercial speech. 

    Not sure that it confers the right of personhood (e.g., second amendment rights, fifth amendment rights) on the corporation.
Sign In or Register to comment.