Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Patents - D: All Things Digital Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook is the first speaker at the D: All Things Digital Conference. He is being interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher today.

Here are WSJ's Ina Fried's notes of Tim Cook's interview. The patent part of the interview runs from 6:51 - 6:58 p.m. Tim Cook notes Apple can’t afford to paint a painting and then have someone else sign their name to it." And it is important for Apple not be the developer for the world. We just want other people to invent their own stuff. Walter replied but lots of folks are suing Apple, too. Cook replied yes, and the vast majority of those are standards-essential patents and no one should be able to get an injunction based on those patents. This makes sense to me as the threat of an injunction reduces the probability that the parties can efficiently reach an agreement on what is a fair reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) royalty rate.

If you read the interview, it is clear Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal are the the right people for the job. See the New Yorker article Critical Mass - Everyone listens to Walter Mossberg. Although Walter is pro on Apple in recent years, I don't think he is willing to just accept whatever Tim Cook says. He does provide an opportunity for Tim to state his view, but questions him if it doesn't make sense.

I haven't attended but judging from the speakers the annual D: All Things Digital conference also appears to be a good choice for the interview. In the last decade Walter Mossberg has partnered with Journal columnist Swisher and they strike the right blend of empathy and skepticism in interviewing people. For example, their interview of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is priceless.

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.