Forget computers. Apple CEO wants every business run on an iPhone

Apple chief executive Tim Cook wants to see every business run on an iPhone – something billionaire and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff says he’s already doing.

At Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Mr Cook said the iPhone was never meant for enterprise but people started taking the phones into their business and so Apple had to adapt.

Tim Cook and Marc Benioff at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.
Tim Cook and Marc Benioff at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Credit:Jakub Mosur

In a ‘fireside chat’ at the Dreamforce conference Mr Cook said most people don’t want to carry two phones.

“So for a decade or so, we’ve been working on bringing enterprise features to the operating system,” he said.


Mr Benioff said he no longer needed a computer and could rely on his phone.

“I run my business on my phone, I have for years, I don’t even own a computer anymore,” Mr Benioff said. “I don’t need one.”

Privacy is very important to us, we view it as a fundamental human right.

Tim Cook

Salesforce is used by businesses around the world for its cloud-based management software and has a market capitalisation of $US143 billion ($209 billion). On Monday, the two companies announced a redesigned Salesforce Mobile app and a Trailhead GO learning app.

Mr Benioff and Mr Cook spoke about the importance of values to both their businesses and of the need to “operationalise” values.

Mr Cook said this was essential as “otherwise [values] become a slogan du jour or a poster on the wall”.

Mr Cook has been advocating strongly for privacy over the last year and he returned to this topic.

Salesforce chief executive and co-founder Marc Benioff during his keynote address at Dreamforce on Tuesday.
Salesforce chief executive and co-founder Marc Benioff during his keynote address at Dreamforce on Tuesday. Credit:Jakub Mosur

“We embed privacy in all of our products,” he said. “Privacy is very important to us, we view it as a fundamental human right.”

In what appeared to be a dig at social media giant Facebook Mr Cook said privacy did not have to be sacrificed for technology.

“There’s some people who think you can’t do really great artificial intelligence machine learning unless you have a boatload of data and understand everybody’s personal life in detail,” he said. “We don’t subscribe to that. We think that’s a false trade off.”

Mr Cook said values had to be “embedded” in companies and were difficult to add at a later stage.

“You don’t bolt on privacy,” he said. “You think about it in the development process of problems, because you can see what happens when companies wake up one day and decide they’re going to do something privacy wise, you just can’t do it. You have to design it in the same way with the environment as it turns out.”

Apple has come under criticism for its environmental record with claims its products are designed for ‘planned obsolescence’ but Mr Cook said the company wanted to be a “steward of the earth”.

The tech giant has moved to using 100 per cent renewable energy and has an “audacious goal” of making its products entirely from recycled material to end its reliance on mining.

Mr Cook also pointed to Apple’s values on immigration and said the company employed around 450 ‘dreamers’, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children .

“These are kids, they know no other home, why would we even think about not allowing them to stay?,” Mr Cook said.

Mr Benioff’s keynote speech at the conference was interrupted by people protesting against Salesforce’s involvement with United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agencies.

Outside the conference, protesters carried banners which said ‘Welcome to Cageforce’ and ‘Salesforce puts kids in cages’ while inside Mr Benioff gave protesters 30 seconds to speak as he said “I value free speech in this country”.

Mr Benioff previously said Salesforce doesn’t have an agreement with ICE and that its contract with CBP is unrelated to the separation of children from their families.

“We value free speech and respect the right to peacefully protest,” a spokesperson for Salesforce said.

The reporter travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce. 

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