I couldn't help thinking, therefore, about Facebook board member and New Zealand citizenship investor Peter Thiel. A few years ago, he suggested competition just wasn't where it's at. Instead, he mused, creating lasting value ideally ought to involve being a monopoly.
He said: "By 'monopoly,' I mean the kind of company that is so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute. Google is a good example of a company that went from 0 to 1: It hasn't competed in search since the early 2000s, when it definitively distanced itself from Microsoft and Yahoo!."
It's a painfully tech industry notion that you can be so good at something that no one can defeat you. Why is it, some might wonder, that Facebook is always trying to squish competitors not by being so very good, but by copying what they do?
Then again, I'm not sure Cook would hold up -- Thiel's suggestion -- Google as an example of not-badness. He tends to use it and Facebook as examples of very-heinousness.
This notion of monopoly as a (potentially) good thing began to gnaw at me. After all, the whole notion of market domination is antithetical to the American way of life, even if "The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up On Free Markets" by Thomas Philippon suggests America isn't quite as keen on competition as it used to be.
What, then, could Cook have had in mind? What sort of monopoly could be not bad, if it's not abused?
Oh, I know. He was talking about China.
A brief history of Apple iPad models 2010-2019 (Gallery)