Neil Cybart: Tim Cook Continues to Thread the Needle

From a note to Above Avalon subscribers that landed on my desktop Monday:

Taking a step back to look at the big picture, Apple is not being targeted by either the U.S. or China. If anything, Apple is being boosted by the U.S. with tariff exemptions and delays.

The tariffs that were set to be placed on Apple’s product line on September 1st have been delayed until December 15th. Looking through the list of products that benefit from the delay (iPhone, MacBook, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV), the decision to delay could have very well be renamed the iPhone exemption. It would seem that Tim Cook had a direct role in delaying the tariffs as he apparently talked to Trump about the latest round of tariffs.

Cook made the bet to engage with the current U.S. administration (he has explained his decision numerous times over the years) and it would appear that his bet has contributed to Apple successfully navigating the current environment with just some minor cuts and scrapes here and there.

It is certainly possible that the 15% tariffs will be applied to Apple’s entire product line once December 15th rolls around. However, at this point, it’s probably just as likely that certain exemptions will be granted to Apple as we approach December.

My take: Cybart is having both ways, but right now there may be no other way to have it. We’ll just have to wait for events to unfold.

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