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Apple CEO Tim Cook calls new regulations "inevitable"

Photo via "Axios on HBO"

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple CEO Tim Cook says tech companies don’t build products that are inherently good or bad, but should be aware that their products can be used for evil. And he said in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that new regulations are likely coming.

What he's saying: "Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation," Cook said in the interview. "I'm a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn't worked here. I think it's inevitable that there will be some level of regulation," Cook added. "I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something." 

Why it matters: The CEO of the world's most valuable company made it clear that Silicon Valley, despite surging revenue and profits, is in a newly humbled posture after a year of rising global skepticism.

  • Cook told us he used to pick up his iPhone too much, but has reduced his notifications: "The number of times I pick up a device are declining."

Cook argued that tech companies should embrace the coming regulations:

  • "This is not a matter of privacy versus profits, or privacy versus technical innovation. That's a false choice."

While acknowledging the Valley's male-dominated culture, Cook said that tech generally has been strong on diversity, and that he is "encouraged at this point that there will be more marked improvement over time."

  • "I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view that the Valley has missed it, and tech in general has missed it."
  • See a clip.

The backdrop: We talked to Cook during a rare visit by journalists inside the company's spaceship-like headquarters, Apple Park, which opened this year. 

  • The 13,000-employee, four-story building is arrayed in a ring that's a mile around and is mostly glass.

⚡️ Hear more from Tim Cook tonight on “Axios on HBO" (6:30 p.m. ET/PT).

  • Plus: Our poll shows America souring on social media; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says we need in-game live betting; and see a 💊 to make you young again.

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