Biographer Walter Isaacson talked about tech behemoths Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) on CNBC’s Squawk Box and discussed the iPhone-maker’s Beats deal and the e-commerce giant’s feud with the Hachette Book Group.
Regarding Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute noted that Steve Jobs and Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics cofounder and CEO, have bonded in the past. He also mentioned that the thinks Iovine is currently the greatest talent spotter in the music and content business and that acquiring Iovine “just feels part of the deal”.
Asked directly if he thinks Jobs would have done the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Beats Electronics deal, Isaacson answered yes and noted that Jobs would not have cared much about acquiring the hardware side of Beats. He said, however, that Jobs did love the headphones made by Beats.
For now, Isaacson also thinks that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook is doing what Jobs would do. He told CNBC:
“Tim Cook is out running the company, bringing in talented people who have an artistic sensibility. Steve brought the art, the beauty – the liberal arts, as he would say – to the technology. Now [Cook and the team at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)] are bringing in other people who are cool.”
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As for Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Isaacson said that the feud the company currently has with the Hachette Book Group is a little worrying.
Isaacson shared how he “loves” Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) because the company is “great at customer service”. He noted that when they were making Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and CEO, Man of the Year in 1999, people were telling him he is crazy. He said he answered these people saying that Bezos is in the customer service industry and that because of this, he would still be around 10 to 15 years in the future. However, Isaacson told CNBC that one has to wonder what happens when the CEO thinks about getting more profit. He said:
“All he cares (about) is putting the customer first. You begin to worry about that when he says, ‘Okay, I have to make profit, so now I’m going to make it kind of messy for customers as well as the people who should be my partners, the publishers.’…He’s hitting up Hachette first, to say, ‘You’ve got to give us much better deals. You’ve got to change that split we get on it. You have to cut what you’re going to make if you are to be sold on Amazon.’”
This is more worrying, he noted, because Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is so large and has a big share of the market that causing a stir like this may get the government and its regulators involved. Isaacson compared this to what Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) experienced in the past.
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