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Cook: Steve Jobs was a notorious flip-flopper

Apple CEO Tim Cook describes his predecessor's ability to change opinions quickly as a "gift" that took courage.

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Steven Musil
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Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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2 min read
Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage at the D10 conference. Asa Mathat / All Things D

Steve Jobs was a hard man to pin down, according to Tim Cook, his successor as Apple chief executive.

"He would flip on something so fast that you would forget that he was the one taking the 180 [degree], polar position on it the day before," Cook said this evening during an onstage interview at the D10 conference in Palos Verdes, Calif. (see video below). "It was an art; he would never know that he fought the opposite. I saw it daily."

But Cook also called this tendency a "gift," pointing out that "things do change, and it takes courage to change and courage to now say, 'I'm now wrong -- maybe I was right before, but maybe not, maybe I was never right.'"

"It takes courage to do that, and I think he had that," Cook said.

Cook shared that revelation in a wide-ranging interview that touched on Apple products as well as giving a glimpse inside Cook's relationship with Jobs and his story with the company.

"Steve was a genius and a visionary, and I've never viewed that my role was to replace him," said Cook. "Steve was an original. I've never really felt the weight of trying to be Steve. It's not my goal in life."

Cook, who joined Apple in 1998, also related how he was hounded to take the job running operations at Apple and finally agreed to an interview.

"Five minutes into the conversation, I am wanting to join Apple. I am shocked at this because it wasn't what I envisioned at all," he said.