Apple CEO Tim Cook says monopolies aren’t bad if they’re ‘not abused’

Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the existence of monopolies in business -- with a key distinction.

During an interview with Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday in Tokyo, the tech mogul discussed several topics, including the company's efforts to constantly innovate and its impact on the broader U.S. economy.

"A monopoly by itself isn't bad if it's not abused," Cook told the outlet while insisting that Apple does not have a monopoly in any sector. "The question for those companies is, do they abuse it? And that is for regulators to decide, not for me to decide."

Cook rejected the idea that Apple itself is a monopoly. "We probably have more competitors than any company on earth," he said.

The chief executive also reportedly bristled at the notion that Apple would get lumped in under the Big Tech umbrella with companies such as Facebook and Google, which are both facing significant regulatory scrutiny.

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"It's very important to realize that tech itself and these large tech companies are not monolithic," he said. "You're not our product, that's very clear in our minds. We don't believe in trafficking your data."

He also rejected criticism, sometimes directed at Apple by President Trump, that the company outsources too much work to China.

"We've created well over 2 million jobs in the U.S.," Cook said. "The glass on this iPhone is made by Corning in Kentucky. Several of the semiconductors in the iPhone are made in the United States. There's enormous manufacturing happening in the U.S., just not the assembly of the final product."

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Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro Max which features triple rear cameras seen at an Apple retail store at the IFC Mall in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro Max which features triple rear cameras seen at an Apple retail store at the IFC Mall in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Despite this, Nikkei reported that more than 90 percent of Apple's products are still assembled in China.

"The ethos and the DNA of the company have never been stronger on the innovation front," Cook said. "The product line has never been stronger."