Apple CEO Tim Cook is on a tour in Europe. After having enjoyed some German beer at the ongoing Oktoberfest in Munich, Cook has made his way to Berlin. While visiting a Berlin-based startup called Blinkist, which summarises non-fiction books in an easy-to-consume interface, Cook spoke about Apple’s pricing strategy, its bet on video streaming services and much more.

Speaking to German magazine Stern, Cook said that Apple always tries to price its services and devices as low as possible. Yes, many may scoff at that statement considering the stratospheric pricing of its flagship smartphones. With the iPhone 11 series though, Apple has indeed priced the base iPhone 11 at a price lower than what the iPhone XR had launched at. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max prices are similar to the prices of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Not to mention the affordable pricing of Apple Arcade in India at Rs 99 per month and the plan to offer free Apple TV+ streaming service for a year for anyone who buys a new Apple product this year.

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“We always try to keep our prices as low as possible. Fortunately, we were able to lower the price of the iPhone this year,” said Cook.

No reasonable person would ever call Apple a monopoly, says CEO Tim Cook

Tim Cook. Reuters.

On the topic of taking a 30 percent cut in the sale of paid apps and the accusations of Apple being a monopoly by trying to push its own apps on the App Store, Cook said that he found this accusation outlandish.

“No sane person would ever call Apple a monopoly,” said Cook to Stern. He also mentioned that every market that Apple operated in has stiff competition. Sweden-based music streaming company Spotify would not really agree with that. In fact, Spotify even filed a complaint with the EU antitrust regulators against Apple, saying the iPhone maker unfairly limited rivals to its own Apple Music streaming service.

While Cook didn’t comment on the Spotify fiasco, he views the App Store as the only channel to sell iOS apps as an advantage. He said that the App Store provides a trustworthy environment to purchase apps. “We ensure that every app that we curate is checked thoroughly,” said Cook.

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(Also Read: Apple’s aggressive TV Plus, Arcade pricing shows that it’s finally reacting to market forces)

Cook also elaborated on how the company is looking at its services segment as the next growth story. “My assessment is that Apple would achieve even faster growth with new services in the coming year, with projected revenue of $46 to $50 bn this year,” said Cook. Speaking about Apple TV+, Cook said that he didn’t think Netflix would be a competition and the video-streaming segment had space for many players of which Apple TV+ was one.

On the topic of US Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s call for breaking up Big Tech, Cook said that he has always been in favour of investigating big companies and has no problem with that.

Blinkist which boasts of about 500,000 paying subscribers from across the world, focusses on giving you the key takeaways from non-fiction tomes in 15 minutes. Cook highlighted how startups such as Blinkist were a prime example of modern firms, which could be set up in one part of the world and have customers all over the world.


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