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Fortune Interviews Cook on Apple being one of the top Three Companies that are changing the World



Steve Jobs once famously said that "We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" If ever a company was self-consciously focused on making an impact—changing the world, it's Apple. And yet, for Jobs the dent that he intended for Apple to make in the universe revolved almost totally around creating new products that would change people's lives. Those products would be gorgeous and useful and fun and surprising, but rarely 'good' in and of themselves. Despite a hippie-dippie veneer and earnest marketing, Apple under Jobs was a ruthlessly efficient moneymaker that largely left social programs to others."


Tim Cook, on the other hand, is a completely different type of CEO to be sure. Taking a huge step into environmental issues is something that is a neutral issue that helps to positively change the world that all Apple fans can applaud. Some issues are highly charged politically, and only time will tell if there will be a backlash. For now, the driving issues of the environment, education and consumer privacy helped to catapult Apple to the #3 position in companies trying to change the world.  



Fortune: Has Apple changed the world?


Tim Cook: Yes, I think in numerous ways. I think the No. 1 way Apple changes the world is through our products. We make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn't otherwise do—to enable them to create or learn or teach or play. Or do something really wonderful.


Fortune: You say that Apple makes its products for everyone to be able to use. But Apple's business strategy is to make premium-priced, high-margin, high-end products, which is why you're the most valuable company in the world.


Well it's not high margin. I wouldn't use that word. There's a lot of companies that have much higher margins. We price for the value of our products. And we try to make the very best products. And that means we don't make commodity kind of products. And we don't disparage people that do; it's a fine business model. But it's not the business that we're in.


But if you look across our product lines, you can buy an iPad today for under $300. You can buy an iPhone, depending upon which one you select, for in that same kind of ballpark. And so these are not for the rich. We obviously wouldn't have over a billion products that are in our active installed base if we were making them for the rich because that's a sizable number no matter who's looking at the numbers.


The interview covers a lot of ground from privacy to education and more, and you can read the full interview here. Fortune Ranked JPMorgan Chase as #1, DSM at #2, Apple at #3, Novartis #4 and LeapFrog Investments to round out the top five companies on Fortunes top 50 list. The full list of Fortune's top 50 could be found here. For the record, Samsung didn't happen to make the list.  



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