Apple CEO Tim Cook told Jim Cramer on Mad Moneythat the tech giant is launching a $1 billion fund aimed at boosting U.S. advanced manufacturing jobs.
The move comes as Apple reported its latest quarterly results this week and as the company prepares for a big rollout later this year of its next-generation iPhone. "You're the first person I'm telling," Cook said to Cramer in an exclusive interview. The CEO then averred, saying the company had already told the unnamed firm which it plans to invest in to further the project.
The tech industry has been under pressure to boost employment in the U.S. even as it faces challenges from tighter visa restrictions on workers from abroad imposed by the Trump administration.
Cook's comments came in an extended "Executive Decision" segment, at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. When Cramer last spoke with Cook a year ago, shares were trading at $93 and the company was under fire from critics. A year later, Apple shares have rocketed 60%.
Cook said that Apple is not focused on the short-term movement of its stock, but on the long term needs of customers. He said this quarter was a great one, with Mac sales up 14%, services up 18% and Apple Watch sales doubling year over year. Apple saw increasing sales in four of five geographic regions and even in China, the laggard, sales were better than last year.
Are Apple shares undervalued? Cook said he thinks they are, which is why the company continues to buy back shares. Over the long term however, Cook said he felt Wall Street would eventually get it right.
As for what went wrong this quarter, Cook noted that with so many rumors swirling about what the next iPhone may be, some customers are delaying their purchases, hurting sales in the short term. Over all however, Cook said the iPhone has become an integral part of so many people's lives that he views it as one of the greatest products of all time.
Cook was also bullish on Apple's services, reiterating that the company's service business would be equivalent to a Fortune 100 company this year and will double by 2020. Some of those services will include video, he said, where cord cutting is accelerating as customers choose to watch what they want, when they want and where they want. Apple continues to work on original content, he said.
Cook said that tax reform is vitally important for the economy. Companies that sell globally earn globally, he said, and a 35% tax rate just doesn't make sense. Apple doesn't see eye to eye with the Trump administration on every issue, Cook said, but it's important to be part of the conversation and to try to influence where you can. The worst thing you can do is not show up.
Apple is about empowering people to go great things, Cook said, which is why he's so excited about products like the Apple Watch. He said his watch has helped him personally lose weight. Our areas of interest at Apple include artificially intelligence and augmented reality, but Cook declined to offer any details.
Earlier in the show, Cramer told viewers that after spending the last few days in Silicon Valley, we're only bound by the ingenuity of companies themselves, "which is great news for business and the stock market."
There's a lot more going on than the latest GDP numbers would lead you to believe, Cramer explained. There's a clear dichotomy between what the tech sector is doing versus the rest of our nation. The tech sector isn't worried about interest rates or the latest musings in Washington, he said, these ideas are powerful enough to transcend that rhetoric. In Silicon Valley, there's plenty of money for great ideas and there's no lack of momentum to build them.
Sure, there's some concern over what healthcare costs might be next year and what changing regulations might mean, but there's a big difference between healthy skepticism and the harmful cynicism that has seemingly gripped the rest of the nation.
Executive Decision: Clorox
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Ben Dorer, chairman and CEO of Clorox(CLX) - Get Report , the consumer packaged goods maker that just posted a penny-a-share earnings beat.
Dorer started off by saying that "innovation keeps us young" and sets Clorox apart from its peers. While the category remains innovation starved, Clorox continues to reinvigorate the category, even as the company celebrates its 104th anniversary.
One of those innovations is Scentiva, new high-end fragrances that Dorer said give customers a little reward for cleaning and makes their days just a little bit better. Scentiva is off to a great start, Dorer added.
Another bright spot for Clorox was the recent acquisition of Renew Life probiotics. Dorer said that this is fast-growing category and Clorox is already ahead of expectations as it continues to integrate this new segment into its business.
Finally, Dorer added that e-commerce sales are up 30% year to date, as Clorox continues to reach out to customers wherever they are.
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer said investors looking for a thesis they can sink their teeth into should look no further than the selfie.
Yes, with high-definition cameras almost everywhere, the need to look your best has never been greater. That's how Estee Lauder(EL) - Get Report was able to buck the downward pull of the ailing mall stores to pop 4.3% on earnings today and why Align Technologies(ALGN) - Get Report can't seem to keep their InvisAlign braces in stock.
The selfie is here to stay, Cramer concluded, and these companies prove it.
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At the time of publication,
, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long AAPL.