There has been some speculation that Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs would not be happy about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent decisions to pay shareholders a dividend and to contribute money to charity.
Jobs was not known as philanthropist, unlike Microsoft’s Bill Gates. In fact, Jobs is said to have eliminated all corporate philanthropy programs initially when he returned to the company in the late 1990s.
However, those who conclude that Jobs wouldn’t not be happy that Cook has started an Apple “matching gift program” where staff charitable contributions are matched by the company, are wrong. Cook revealed in his chat with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at D10 that “Steve knew about the matching gift thing… and he was for it”.
This drive for charitable donations may be a change at Apple, compared to Jobs’ day, but Cook doesn’t think that is something Jobs would be unhappy about.
He said: “Maybe that’s a change, but Steve knew about the matching gift thing, and he was alive then, and he was for it. Do I feel really strongly about it? Yes, I do. I think it’s impossible to say what he would have done or not.”
Discussing the philosophy “To whom much is given, much is expected” Cook revealed: “I do believe this. It’s embedded in me. And yes, so, Apple has started a matching gift program. Employees love it. It allows us to reach thousands of charities and plant seeds everywhere and allows us to do so without the bureaucracy where people sit in a committee meeting…”
Cook plans to do even more: “I think we can do even more, and so we’re looking at some things, and we’ll talk about them when we’re ready.”
Regarding the dividends that Apple is planning to pay to investors before the end of the financial year, another decision some have speculated that Jobs would not be happy about, Cook said: “The dividend thing. Some people have talked about this. I think we will do the right thing… the company has been successful, cash has built up, and when we think about the things we want to do, we’re going to continue to invest in R&D and build up stores and things I’m not going to talk about, but we’ve got some money left over. And we should share it.”