Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed he is to hand over his relatively measly fortune to charity for the betterment of the planet – once he’s paid off his nephew’s college bill.
This is not some sort of publicity stunt to reinforce Apple’s image as a benevolent tech designer. Scurrilous hacks at lesser publications might suggest this, but not us, oh no. Cook just cares about us all.
More ReadingLarry Ellison's Brit consortium in 'advanced talks' to buy Aston VillaSmartwatch biz Pebble says smartwatch biz Apple won't approve its new app – surpriseUse your Apple gizmos only for good, says Tim CookDead Steve Jobs' wage-fixing pact in Silicon Valley was news to us, claim Apple directorsI BEG YOU, mighty Jobs, TAKE MY LIVER, Cook told Apple's dying co-founder
“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates a ripple for change,” he said in a sycophantic profile.
Cook is estimated to have a personal wealth of $785m - a paltry amount dwarfed by the $30.2bn that Bill Gates has already handed out to fight disease and reform education. But it seems Gates can’t give the greenbacks away fast enough – last year he made $3bn and splurged $2.6bn on good causes.
Apple's CEO’s personal wealth includes $120m in Apple stock and restricted stock valued at $665m if it were to be fully vested. He’s already started scattering the dosh but will donate the lot out once his ten-year-old relative is fully educated.
Apparently Cook wants to “develop a systematic approach to philanthropy rather than simply writing cheques”.
The ranks of Silicon Valley execs and those from other industries talking publicly about their philanthropic activities is growing. Fat cat financier Warren Buffet previously urged billionaires to give away half of their wealth before they snuff it via the Giving Pledge website.
Leading lights of the tech industry, including Gates, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle’s perma-tanned playboy co-founder Larry Ellison, telco entrepreneur John Caudwell and Tesla biggie Elon Musk have signed up.
Apple had carved out an image as an underdog battling against the Microsoft machine. Now that it's the most valued company on the planet, with a market cap north of $700bn, this doesn’t play so well.
Perhaps Cook should use his power and influence to give more concessions to workers at Far East factories that build Apple's kit, who complained of hideous working conditions.
Or perhaps Apple could simply stop avoiding corporation tax – which, though legal, draws flak from those who can't move their wealth around the globe to avoid handing it over to the taxman.
Apple has negotiated a deal with the Irish government that allowed it to pay a tax rate of two per cent.
The company also has more than one hundred billion dollars outside of the US that it does not want to repatriate because of tax implications. ®