In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published Thursday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a drastic turn away from his predecessor's legacy.
"I do feel we have a responsibility to create jobs," Cook said. "I don't think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job, but I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs."
The quote stands in sharp contrast to sentiments expressed by an Apple executive in a widely read New York Times story published at the beginning of the year: “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible," an Apple executive said at the time.
That Times story brought wide criticism down on Apple for outsourcing so much of the work that goes into producing its iProducts. In the piece "How The U.S. Lost Out On iPhone Work," CEO and founder Steve Jobs is quoted telling President Barack Obama that his company would not bring jobs back to the United States.
Cook defended Apple's job creation record in his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, saying: "I think if you fairly look at it -- we've had this estimated by other parties -- we've created about 600,000 jobs in the U.S. They all don’t work for Apple. We're part of a global economy."
Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.
Apple uses about 700,000 contract workers, and nearly all of them are in foreign countries, according to The New York Times' January article. Meanwhile, only 43,000 people in the U.S. and 20,000 people abroad directly work for Apple.
The contractor Foxconn manufactures Apple's iPhones and iPads. An explosion at a Foxconn factory that makes iPads killed three people last year, according to the Associated Press. At least 10 Foxconn workers committed suicide in 2010, according to a separate AP report. In May, Apple agreed to share the costs of improving labor conditions at Foxconn factories, according to Reuters.