From Haunted Empire: Tim Cook blasts the New York Times

March 15, 2014, 3:55 PM UTC

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: AP

FORTUNE — By an accident of UPS, I didn’t get my pre-release copy of Haunted Empire, Yukari Iwatani Kane’s new book about Tim Cook’s Apple (AAPL), in time to participate in the first wave of reviews I expect to hit the Web this weekend. But poking around the book by the index, I found one passage of particular interest to me.

It always bothered me that the New York Times‘ 2013 iEconomy series condemned Apple — one of high tech’s more ethical companies — for the sins of the entire industry. I saw it from the start as a cynical campaign to win a Pulitzer Prize. (See The New York Times goes for the Pulitzer and The New York Times gets its Pulitzer for picking on Apple.)

What I didn’t know was that after the second story in the Times‘ nine-part series — the one that reported on harsh working conditions in the Chinese supply chain Tim Cook set up — Cook scheduled a luncheon meeting with the paper’s editorial board. Kane, a former Wall Street Journal reporter with a long list of Apple scoops under her belt, takes it from there:

As the group broke for lunch, Charles Duhigg, the lead reporter of the iEconomy series, asked Cook what he thought of the stories. Cook had his back turned and was filling his plate. But he sat back down and opened fire. He accused Duhigg of relying on sources who weren’t truthful. He protested the fairness of the entire series, arguing that the newspaper had been gunning for Apple from the start.

“I think you set out to write this story,” Cook told the journalists. “There was nothing that we could have said that was going to change it.”

The room went dead silent as Cook grew angrier. Though the intensity of his voice increased, the reporters in the room noted that Cook vented more quietly than Jobs, who had been a screamer. The new CEO’s control made him all the more intimidating, especially when he emphasized one of his grievances by hitting the table with his fist.

I gather from Charles Arthur’s lively review in the Guardian, that Kane, in pursuing her thesis that Cook’s Apple is haunted by the ghost of Steve Jobs, has stepped on some of the third rails of Apple analysis: equating functional patents with standard-essential patents, for example, and focusing on smartphone market share as if smartphone profitability didn’t matter.

In fact, Arthur’s take of Kane’s analysis is so smart, I think maybe he should write a book about Apple.

Haunted Empire is published by Harper Collins and is scheduled to arrive in bookstores — including Apple’s iBookstore — on March 18.

See also: