Apple: We don't care about the money, just great products

For the world’s most valuable company, sitting on vast cash reserves exceeding $117bn, amassed by selling consumer technologies at premium prices, nobody would blame you for assuming that Apple is driven by an insatiable desire to make money, lots and lots of money. But that assumption, it seems, is wide of the mark.

Indeed, coming off the back of another $8.8bn in profits last quarter, it’s hard to get away from the idea of the financial imperative, but Apple’s design chief, Sir Jonathan Ive, insists that that could not be further from the truth. Speaking at a conference in London this week, he said: “Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth.”

Pretty unequivocal then. So if money doesn’t get the blood pumping through Apple’s veins, what does? “Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful, people will like them, and if we are operationally competent, we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.”

Sir Jonathan – better known within the tech community as Jony – joined Apple in 1992, and is credited with overseeing the design of its most important products, including the iPad and iPhone. But his early years at the company were during some of its most tumultuous times. As The Telegraph noted, Ive credited much of Apple’s success, and its ability to emerge from those dark days, on the company’s focus on product rather than profit, under the guidance of the late Steve Jobs.


If there's an iPad Mini on the way, don't expect it to arrive until it's "great", not just "competent".

“Apple was very close to bankruptcy and to irrelevance [but] you learn a lot about life through death,” Ive told the London conference delegates, “and I learnt a lot about vital corporations by experiencing a non-vital corporation. You would have thought that, when what stands between you and bankruptcy is money, your focus would be on making some money, but that was not [Jobs’] preoccupation. His observation was that the products weren’t good enough and his resolve was, we need to make better products. That stood in stark contrast to the previous attempts to turn the company around.”

Apple’s continuing success, he asserts, comes from its resolve in refusing to accept merely “competent” products, and striving instead to create “great” ones. Ive revealed that this ethos was particularly problematic during the iPhone’s development, when the company just couldn’t get the device’s face detection system to work properly: “There were multiple times when we nearly shelved the phone because there were multiple problems. I hold the phone to my ear and my ear dials a number. The challenge is that you have to develop all sort of ear shapes, chin shapes, skin colour, hair-do… it seemed insurmountable.”

Whether or not you choose to accept Sir Jonathan's assertions that money doesn't matter to Apple will come down to personal opinion of course, but there's surely one thing that we can all agree on: there's something delightful about learning that the mighty iPhone was almost defeated by an ear.


Source: The Telegraph  |  Images: BBC Stoke & Staffordshire, Ciccarese Design

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Hahahaha! Funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

I think everyone knows just how much that isn't true. If it were true, you wouldn't currently be seeking 2.5 billion in the current court case against Samsung. You would instead be in the Apple labs investing in R&D, trying to come up with a product that can compete fairly with company whose kicking your ass at the moment.

Apple, you make yourself look even more stupid everyday.

So when do they plan on making great products? (Half jokingly, as there are really horrid GPU and other component choices in the majority of their products.)

It is funny that people STILL see them as 'valuable' based on the cash they have on hand. Yet if Microsoft hadn't paid out dividends for the past 10 years, they would have a bigger chunk of cash on hand.

*Apple didn't pay dividends from like 1996 to just announcing to in March 2012.

This is called being the most valuable company by cheating investors.

Ummm excuse me but build you junk here and give americans work and stop being a money whore and using slave labor to build your junk

“Our goal isn't to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it's the truth.”

Who are they trying to kid? They are not a charity.

Nobody believes it.

We dont care about money yet if your product looks, feels and works similar to ours we will sue you and do our best to get the product banned! Not only that but we will patent everything and say yours works like one of our patents!!!

Ps can we get an apple fan judge please, we dont like to lose =)

Can someone tell the shareholders, I think they might have something to say about not having a goal to make lots of money ;-)

Apple's business model is actually very impressive - build high margin great looking products, market the heck out of them with celebrities, and then sell content for those products in a distribution channel that you control. Whatever I think of Apple's business practices you got to admire their business and design acumen, because for now Apple essentially has a license to print money, you know money...the stuff they don't care about ;-)

Edited by solarus, Aug 2 2012, 5:05pm :

solarus said,
Can someone tell the shareholders, I think they might have something to say about not having a goal to make lots of money ;-)

Apple's business model is actually very impressive - build high margin great looking products, market the heck out of them with celebrities, and then sell content for those products in a distribution channel that you control. Whatever I think of Apple's business practices you got to admire their business and design acumen, because for now Apple essentially has a license to print money, you know money...the stuff they don't care about ;-)

Their model is NOT impressive, especially to the shareholders.

If they would have paid just dividends, they would not have the extra cash on hand. PERIOD.

If Microsoft would have CHEATED shareholders the same way Apple has and used inflated stock to quell people, they would have nearly $200 billion in cash sitting around.

Apple is what is wrong with business.

thenetavenger said,

Their model is NOT impressive, especially to the shareholders.

If they would have paid just dividends, they would not have the extra cash on hand. PERIOD.

If Microsoft would have CHEATED shareholders the same way Apple has and used inflated stock to quell people, they would have nearly $200 billion in cash sitting around.

Apple is what is wrong with business.

Yup, people seem to have forgotten how they got to that amount of cash.

That is such utter bull****.. If they did not care about that why fill all their keynotes showing how much they earn? Can't really say that they really are product focused. Feels more like they are talking to stock investors!

Makes sense. However, what Ive's is saying and what Apple does simply do not line up. Case in point: the 3GS and the 4S. These incremental updates were designed to minimize costs and maximize revenues. They took no design risks and reaped the rewards. Apple can't have its cake and eat it too.

"Our goal isn't to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. "

ROFLs, this is so full of irony it's off the scales. BS factor 10 Mr. Sulu...

Apparently people that have commented so far haven't read past the title as usual. The person making this statement doesn't set prices. He doesn't sue anybody. The same goes for most of the people that work at Apple, or any company for that matter. This man doesn't give a damn about making money beyond keeping his paycheck steady and his company afloat. Nothing he says here is a lie. If people who educate themselves or use a bit of common sense for that matter, they would understand a simple truth about business. Not everyone is out to make money. Most people working at tech companies are in it for their joy of making cool toys(lets face it, that's what most tech is to enthusiasts). The lawyers that sue in Apples name has nothing to do with 95% of the people that work for Apple. The money hungry ******* that set the prices have nothing to do with 95% of the people that work for Apple. The CEO of the company has nothing to do with 95% of the people that work for Apple. Those groups of people are only responsible to one group of people, the investors. Very few people at Apple, or any other company for that matter, have the goal of making any more money than their own paycheck.

"stop suing people over petty crap" - Don't protect your patents, you lose them. If you lose them, anyone else can copy your product, thus making it not your product anymore. That's how the patent system works. Suing so that you can keep your product does not make you a hypocrite if you say your goal isn't to make money. The two concepts are in no way related. You may not like it but do you really think a multi-billion dollar company is going stop wanting to keep its patents because you have a problem with a broken system that it didn't create and is currently stuck in just like everyone else? Your reality distortion field is bigger than that of an Apple fanboy.

"The why the obscenely high profit margin" - Because that's how business works. The higher ups decide the prices, not an engineer. Creators of anything these days rarely get more than their usual paycheck so they don't care about profit margins for their company beyond what it takes to pay them. Most would give it away for free if it still meant they got their normal paycheck because most creators are happy with their creations being a world wide phenomenon. Profit margins only matter to investors. Come back to reality please.

"WOW ... Joke of the decade.... then why u people are selling a product for such high price " - Sir Jonathan Ive doesn't sell anything. He isn't a salesman. Read the article and you would know that before making such an absurd statement. He also doesn't set any prices. It's not his job. Learn to read before posting.

Is there anyone left on Neowin that has any grip on reality anymore? Such nonsensical comments makes me lose faith in humanity.

The headline baits people into knee jerk comments. That's pretty much why you're getting them. I understand this guy isn't in it for the money but the company as a whole absolutely is. What company wouldn't be?

Reality. Right. Of course.

I would say that you're the one who has lost the grip on this overglorified reality (which doesn't even exist as a rule, instead it's being constantly shaped by people), partly due to posting this "longpost is long", littered with "reality" - the insistence to emphasize that term alone often is already a tell of a certain obsessive derangement.

That left hand is not interested in what right hand does - that's oversimplified, idealistic and, in fact, impossibly crapsack reality. One simply doesn't work so as to lock himself in a cellar for months and then coming out with a masterpiece, especially in tech, especially in global, let's for the time being say, leader, like Apple. St. Jobs has said himself that Ive is the second most influential man of Apple. He does, does have to, decide. A lot. Ive leads a team. Any work of significance is a cooperation of many, each contributing something to the pot, be it beneficial or counter-so. It's not solely engineers, designers, VPs or CEOs that choose features, limitations, future possibilities, and they all aren't renaissance men - don't have an ungodly ability to pull it all together at once, on their own - that's why it's a com-pa-ny to begin with. Influenced by assumptions, by marketing reports, by competitors, by random chance, by experience of thousand years and million manhours - all of that determines looks, features, prices and is a persistent feedback loop. Tech isn't that sort of art one can carve from a bark of tree at their leisure and sell as it is, whatever it is. It must work, function together with, not just against competitors, sell to those that don't understand this art.

Sit down.

Phouchg said,
Reality. Right. Of course.

I would say that you're the one who has lost the grip on this overglorified reality (which doesn't even exist as a rule, instead it's being constantly shaped by people), partly due to posting this "longpost is long", littered with "reality" - the insistence to emphasize that term alone often is already a tell of a certain obsessive derangement.

That left hand is not interested in what right hand does - that's oversimplified, idealistic and, in fact, impossibly crapsack reality. One simply doesn't work so as to lock himself in a cellar for months and then coming out with a masterpiece, especially in tech, especially in global, let's for the time being say, leader, like Apple. St. Jobs has said himself that Ive is the second most influential man of Apple. He does, does have to, decide. A lot. Ive leads a team. Any work of significance is a cooperation of many, each contributing something to the pot, be it beneficial or counter-so. It's not solely engineers, designers, VPs or CEOs that choose features, limitations, future possibilities, and they all aren't renaissance men - don't have an ungodly ability to pull it all together at once, on their own - that's why it's a com-pa-ny to begin with. Influenced by assumptions, by marketing reports, by competitors, by random chance, by experience of thousand years and million manhours - all of that determines looks, features, prices and is a persistent feedback loop. Tech isn't that sort of art one can carve from a bark of tree at their leisure and sell as it is, whatever it is. It must work, function together with, not just against competitors, sell to those that don't understand this art.

Sit down.

Random jumble of words that have no discernible point. This guy doesn't pick price points. Period and simple as that. He doesn't pick who or when to sue. There is nothing oversimplified in that. You say you lead teams and yet you don't seem to understand how a business works. The only influence this guy has on price is saying what it cost to design, develop, and build the device. That price includes the cost of engineers and factory works. The profit margins are not decided by him. The amounts to sue for are not decided by him. Business 101. Everyone has a role in a company. This guy doesn't have any role that deals with making money for investors which is what the lawsuits and profit margins are about. Being the "second most influential of Apple" in no way means he is in charge of setting price points or leading the legal teams. Seriously, where do you people come up with this baseless and illogical crap. I say come back to reality because its what you need to do. In reality, salesmen sell stuff, legal teams go to court, and engineers, contrary to what everyone here things, design stuff. Just because this guy has a voice doesn't mean he does everything in the company.

Sit down? I'm at a computer desk in my chair and have been for the past 4 hours. Random statements don't in anyway make you seem smart or empowered, especially when they are illogical and baseless to begin with.

Ok. I'll just make a quick note that leads me to believe you've skipped it over, perhaps in attempt of self-serving bias (as it's often the case in arguments, even debates I've seen, these days):

Ive leads a team.

You say you lead teams

No I don't.

To maintain my healthy level of random insanity: in real reality, either everybody or nobody is a robot.

Phouchg said,

No I don't.

Actually. You didn't. "Ive leads a team" I read that wrong forgetting the guys name lol. Anyways, nothing you said in your point in any way makes sense in context of saying anything I said was wrong. The guy leads and engineering team. Not a legal time. Not a sales team. Not a marketing team. He doesn't set price points. He doesn't side who or when to sue. He designs. His job isn't to make money. It is to design great products. As long as he gets his salary, his interest in making money is limited.

ILikeTobacco said,
Apparently people that have commented so far haven't read past the title as usual. The person making this statement doesn't set prices. He doesn't sue anybody.

That would all be great, except that he doesn't claim that he himself, or even his team, doesn't care about the money. He states that Apple doesn't care about the money. I think that by looking at their prices, their bank account, and the fact that they just recently started paying dividends to investors after going years without paying anything, we can all agree that Apple, as a whole, cares very much about money...

JonathanMarston said,

That would all be great, except that he doesn't claim that he himself, or even his team, doesn't care about the money. He states that Apple doesn't care about the money. I think that by looking at their prices, their bank account, and the fact that they just recently started paying dividends to investors after going years without paying anything, we can all agree that Apple, as a whole, cares very much about money...

Realize what you just said and how much that doesn't actually make sense in the context you even put it in. Apple as a whole doesn't care about making money because the majority of Apple workers do not care about making money beyond their own paychecks. A very small percentage of people at Apple care about profit margins. Those people, such as the CEO, answer directly to investors. Everyone else just wants their normal yearly salary. It is the same in every business. Most people don't care about profit margins unless their paycheck is directly tied to them. Apple, as a whole, and any other company, as a whole, doesn't care about making more money that what it takes to pay its employees and stay afloat.

That's like saying that Buffalo Wild Wing's "blazin'" wings aren't spicy because the chicken itself isn't spicy, it's just the habenero sauce on the outside...

ILikeTobacco said,
Realize what you just said and how much that doesn't actually make sense in the context you even put it in. Apple as a whole doesn't care about making money because the majority of Apple workers do not care about making money beyond their own paychecks. A very small percentage of people at Apple care about profit margins. Those people, such as the CEO, answer directly to investors. Everyone else just wants their normal yearly salary. It is the same in every business. Most people don't care about profit margins unless their paycheck is directly tied to them. Apple, as a whole, and any other company, as a whole, doesn't care about making more money that what it takes to pay its employees and stay afloat.

I have a feeling you are going to start using the word "miss spoke".

ILikeTobacco said,
Sir Jonathan Ive doesn't sell anything. He isn't a salesman. Read the article and you would know that before making such an absurd statement. He also doesn't set any prices. It's not his job. Learn to read before posting.

as I said earlier it's not his job so he shouldn't be making such comments on things he knows (obviously) nothing about

They can't innovate or build great products if they don't have money.

But their whole business model screams money robbing. Just look at their laptop line, where each model has 3 configurations carefully selected to maximize profit.

If they don't care about money and only care about quality products they need to close up all the cheap labor sweat shops and open more factories here in the USA paying people decent salary to build high quality products.

We can build better quality products here but it costs more.

swanlee said,

We can build better quality products here but it costs more.
This use to be true but hasn't been for a long time. It is certainly true that we CAN build better quality products given more money, however we choose not to anymore. Look at cars for examples of this. Domestic cars are failing in quality while imports are becoming much better in comparison. At this point, I find myself trusting foreign products rather than US made products more and more each day.

Steve Jobs's biography said a lot of the same things, actually... Steve's biggest thing was always to make great-looking products, no matter what... He didn't make products for the money... So that tradition carries on...

JaykeBird said,
Steve Jobs's biography said a lot of the same things, actually... Steve's biggest thing was always to make great-looking products, no matter what... He didn't make products for the money... So that tradition carries on...

Our iLeader who be in iHeaven, hallowed be thy name...

So Apple not caring about money is why their stuff the most expensive on the market.

For example: They are still charging $150 for an 8GB Nano. Probably costs <$5 to make.

Preposterous statement! They go to extreme lengths to avoid paying even modest wages, and that includes Apple store employees not just the Foxcon concentration camp slaves.

Foxcon employees get paid more than anyone else in their region (at job fairs in China the recruitment desk is absolutely swamped with eager workers), and Apple store clerks are just that; clerks. They should get minimum wage just like any other retail drones. Factory and retail clerical work are not life-sustaining jobs, they're for kids that want to work hard and make some extra cash (and a discount on personal computers) - and when they need more money they should quit and let other kids take their place.

I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a massive amount of unemployed youth in America, thanks in part to unions driving up the cost of crap-labor jobs meant for <20 year old kids. Instead you have 50 and 60 year-olds working a young-man's job for pennies on the dollar, hoping to pay off a mortgage and two cars. It's ridiculous.

The headline is sensationalist; He doesn't say, "they don't care about the money", he says, "making money isn't the goal". In other words making money is a result of doing what they love & it's a means of being able to do what they love with out restriction.

Must be the biggest joke I've heard in a while. These people need to keep their nonsense to themselves.

Apple, it's fine, just admit you're in business to make money, we all are, that's why people work. Doesn't mean you can't enjoy making great products or helping people while making money.

Why do people keep thinking of making money on something as being evil in some strange way (unless of course you earn it by evil means, that's another thing entirely)?

WTF does a designer know about the companies accounting me thinks he talks through a hole in his arse and making statements he's not qualified to talk on

and it's easy to say you don't care about money when you get paid more than 6 averages wages a year

Athlonite said,
WTF does a designer know about the companies accounting me thinks he talks through a hole in his arse and making statements he's not qualified to talk on

and it's easy to say you don't care about money when you get paid more than 6 averages wages a year


As a designer he has a high impact on what the margins will be like.

GS:mac

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
“Apple was very close to bankruptcy and to irrelevance [but] you learn a lot about life through death,”

Like how to ask Microsoft to bail you out?

So you are suggesting that anyone that is in trouble should not explore any legal means of getting out of that trouble? This isn't kindergarden. Problems don't simply disappear if you ignore them.

Actually, I could believe the design team/engineers don't care about money. They want to design and build the coolest stuff on earth. But APPLE as a corporation is all about the money.

dreckman said,
Actually, I could believe the design team/engineers don't care about money. They want to design and build the coolest stuff on earth. But APPLE as a corporation is all about the money.
There are specific design decisions and engineering decisions from Apple made for money too, like blocking non-Apple products from interacting with many of their products.

sanke1 said,
Slow reporting day!

Everyone (e.g. websites, magazines, and TV networks) needs their Apple PR/Ad$ and positive Apple spin articles is the prerequisite.

thekim said,
The don't care the money, right. Made in china.

So true. If they really don't care about money, they'd do something about this.

thekim said,
The don't care the money, right. Made in china.

I think that is the most important fact to counter Ive's statement.

Iridium said,

I think that is the most important fact to counter Ive's statement.

Don't forget they have the largest profit margins on the market for their products.

thekim said,
The don't care the money, right. Made in china.

Steve Jobs actually explained the reason for this in an interview on allthingsd. His claim is that he feels it is more important to focus their efforts on iPhone development (r&d) rather than expend their energy on things can be more effectively handled by others/third parties (like manufacturing).

superconductive said,

Steve Jobs actually explained the reason for this in an interview on allthingsd. His claim is that he feels it is more important to focus their efforts on iPhone development (r&d) rather than expend their energy on things can be more effectively handled by others/third parties (like manufacturing).

Because there's no way to split the company into different divisions? Lots of companies have an R&D section that's separate from the manufacturing and sales/marketing areas.

Better yet, since the CEO of most companies isn't involved in decisions on a lower level. The managers and other executives are in that role. The easiest solution would be to hire more people. Then again both solutions are more expensive than sending everything to China. Of course Apple doesn't care about money and profit so.....

superconductive said,

Steve Jobs actually explained the reason for this in an interview on allthingsd. His claim is that he feels it is more important to focus their efforts on iPhone development (r&d) rather than expend their energy on things can be more effectively handled by others/third parties (like manufacturing).

Thats the biggest load of double speak bullcrap...

Right now they contract out to foxconn to do their manufacturing. Why couldn't they get local manufacturers to manufacture the products?

Thats right, cos its cheaper to manufacture in China and ship to the US than to manufacture in the US...

Setnom said,
Fine, then give me an iPad for free...

...so that I may use it to slap you silly for telling us such blatent lies. I'm sure they tell they're investors/shareholders (if indeed they need investors anymore) something completely different!

Setnom said,
Fine, then give me an iPad for free.

Haha...I wish.
This is probably one of the most bs comments I've heard from apple.

dvb2000 said,
lol - good joke Apple, if that was true you wouldn't be suing the pants off everything that moves.

If they dont, then acording to the law, they risk losing the IP, resulting in both people selling nokia phones as iPhones, and taking an iPhone and putting a Blackberry Logo on it

Hell-In-A-Handbasket said,

If they dont, then acording to the law, they risk losing the IP, resulting in both people selling nokia phones as iPhones, and taking an iPhone and putting a Blackberry Logo on it

In regards to tech, if they dont sue, they would loose the patent, allowing somebody else to patent it and sue them for infringment.