Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks To Employees About COVID-19 Plans and Economy in Online Meeting

Apple Reportedly Postpones March Media Event Over Coronavirus Concerns

In a virtual meeting with employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed the COVID-19's impact and the company's plans to tackle it.

As per Bloomberg, Cook called it an "uncertain and stressful moment" and reminded everyone that the company has jumped back from such crisis before, notably its near-bankruptcy in the 90s and the recession in 2008. Cook noted that after every crisis in the past, Apple has jumped back strongly with amazing products. The iMac was launched just after Apple's struggles with bankruptcy in the 90s, and the iPad was launched just after 2008's recession.

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Apple, just like other companies, is facing a situation where its supply-chain has slowed down in the face of the global pandemic, and it had to shut down its retail stores around the world to keep employees and customers safe. To its credit, the company has kept paying its employees, while they adjusted to continue working remotely.

Cook said that the company has entered the pandemic with a "robust balance sheet", which has helped it navigate its way through these tough times. He also assured that the company will invest in a significant way in research and development of future products.

Cook told the employees:

If we stay focused on doing what we do best, if we keep investing, if we manage the business wisely and make decisions collaboratively, if we take care of our teams, if our teams take care of their work, I don’t see any reason to be anything but optimistic.

During a recession, the most alarming concern is regarding job safety. In an answer to such a question, Tim Cook told employees that the company has been paying retail employees even though stores are closed. Although he did add that “I won’t tell you Apple won’t be impacted” and shared his focus on "long-term rather than short-term adjustments".

Retail employees have been preparing to get back to stores gradually through online trainings and virtual meetings. The first of Apple's U.S. stores are expected to open in May. However, this is not set in stone and could happen earlier or later, depending on the pandemic situation. Even when stores open, Apple will continue with temperature checks and social distancing for some time.

Despite supply chain disruptions, Apple recently launched a new iPad Pro, MacBook Air and iPhone SE, through online press releases. This is something Tim Cook highlighted during the meeting. He also discussed Apple's commitment to helping the community fight the coronavirus pandemic through a donation of 30 million masks and shipment of 2 million face shields. The company has been producing 1 million face shields per week and shipping them to frontline workers, starting with the U.S. Cook also said that the company has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to help fight COVID-19. Apple also launched COVID-19 screening app and website, which has been visited by millions of users.

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Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Apple, also chimed in during the meeting saying that Apple's focus on health products has increased even more because of the pandemic. He shared that countries around the world are more quickly than ever, helping Apple rollout ECG readings for Apple Watch. Jeff also said that Apple's focus on health products is not limited to the wrist.

Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services also iterated how Apple has deferred March and April payments for Apple Card, which is only available in the U.S. for now. Meanwhile, Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, shared privacy-related details regarding Apple and Google's partnership for a COVID-19 contact tracing framework.

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