Apple CEO: We're willing to sacrifice return on investment for customer satisfaction

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Apple CEO, Tim Cook openS the door of the newly renovated Apple Store at Fifth Avenue on September 20, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook took the stage Wednesday during the company’s annual shareholders meeting to provide insight into the tech giant’s performance over the past year and prospects for 2020.

And while he touched on a number of topics ranging from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to Apple’s plans to open its first store in India, one of the more interesting tidbits came when Cook addressed a question about whether Apple is working on a monitor for diabetic consumers, and if doing so would be a means for the company to see a return on its investments, or to assist its users. 

“If you're a shareholder who thinks we only do things for ROI, then you're in the wrong stock,” Cook told the audience at The Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.

“If you look in the health area...the research studies that you've seen in heart, hearing, women's studies, none of these have an ROI on them. They just have a cost. And we do that because we discovered early on that the way people were conducting medical research was arcane.”

If it’s good for the customer, it’s good for the company

Apple currently offers compatibility between the iPhone and Apple Watch and glucose monitors for diabetics, but it does not have a monitor of its own. Rumors have circulated for some time about Apple working on such a feature for the Apple Watch, but those have yet to come to fruition.

While Cook said he couldn’t comment on whether Apple is working on the kind of functionality that would bring glucose monitoring to its devices, he did say the company is willing to sacrifice ROI for customer satisfaction.

“Our deep belief is that if things are good for the customer, they'll eventually be good for the company,” Cook said.

Of course, moves that keep Apple users happy are sure to keep them from leaving the company’s ecosystem. And that means they’ll eventually purchase more Apple products and devices. So while the iPhone maker may not necessarily see any ROI on some initiatives, all roads still lead to ensuring users remain with Apple for the long haul.

And that, in the end, will still provide a return on investment.

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