Tim Cook: Apple Won’t Take Bite of Wireless World

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Tim CookThe CEO of iEverything told Startup Fest Europe on Tuesday “Our expertise doesn’t extend to the network,” according to a transcript obtained by Apple-tracking site 9to5 Mac and posted on Fortune Magazine’s news site. “We’ve worked with AT&T in the U.S., O2 in the U.K., as well as T-Mobile TMUS 0.55% and Orange, and we expanded as we learned more. But generally, the things Apple likes to do, are things we can do globally. We don’t have the network skill. We’ll do some things along the way with e-SIMs along the way, but in general, I like the things carriers do.”

Cook hopes to squash rumors that the Cupertino, CA, technology giant was worming its way into the wireless carrier business, Fortune reported. The rumors were based in the idea the iPhone maker wanted to provide the best possible network experience to its customers. Its devices would be able to hop from one network to another, based on where the user was, to ensure the strongest connection.      

Instead of starting its own network, the magazine reported, Apple would jump on network infrastructure already installed by companies like AT&T and Verizon. The move would have made Apple an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator. While there are many MVNOs operating around the U.S., including Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS, they’re in many cases owned by major network operators.

Fortune reported Cook’s comments are the strongest stance he’s taken yet on whether Apple should venture into the carrier business, and the very fact that he says he’s pleased with what “carriers do” suggests he won’t be changing his mind anytime soon. Google’s MVNO effort, Project Fi, uses WiFi in addition to wireless networks owned by T-Mobile and Sprint.

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