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Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'We're Simpletons'

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 02/16/12 07:21 PM ET  |  Updated: 02/16/12 09:00 PM ET

In January Apple celebrated record-breaking product sales and expectation-obliterating profits of $13.06 billion. So how has Apple run rings around the competition? Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO in August, spoke with The Wall Street Journal about what makes the technology behemoth tick. Speaking to WSJ's Jessica Vascellaro, Cook said of Apple's corporate structure:

We have one hardware organization. We have one marketing organization. It's not like we're this big company with all these divisions that are cranking out independent products. We're simpletons.

For more on Cook's take on touchscreen desktops and what he thinks about the future of the PC industry check out The Wall Street Journal's interview here.

Simplicity was also one of core themes of Cook's keynote at the Goldman Sachs investor conference on Tuesday. According to Wired, Cook attributed Apple's narrow focus and interest in quality over quantity to his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs. Cook said, “Steve grilled in all of us over many years that the company should revolve around great product, and that we should stay extremely focused on just a few things rather than try to do so many that we do nothing well."

"Insanely Simple," a new book due out in April, focuses on Steve Jobs' obsession with simplicity. Author Ken Segall, who worked as Jobs' agency creative director for 12 years, has had a rare view into the inner workings of the company, and attributes Apple's runaway success directly to its simple business model. As Segall writes on his personal blog, "To Steve Jobs, Simplicity was a religion. But it was also a weapon -- one that he used to humble competitors once thought to be invincible."

In a 1998 interview, Jobs himself told Business Week that simplicity was part of his mantra: "That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."

Expanding Apple's product line to flat-screen TVs is not exactly simple, but according to rumors swirling around the blogosphere, it may be where Apple is going.

During his keynote, Cook reiterated that Apple TV was merely a "hobby," but noted, "Apple doesn't do hobbies as a general rule."

"[D]espite the barriers in that market, for those of us who use [Apple TV], we've always thought there was something there," Cook said, according to MacRumors. "If we kept following our intuition and kept pulling the string, we might find something that was larger."

Check out the slideshow (below) for a look back at the most memorable quotes from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
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"We've never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. [...] Ad campaigns are necessary for competition; IBM's ads are everywhere. But good PR educates people; that's all it is. You can't con people in this business. The products speak for themselves."
-- Playboy interview, 1985
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