Apple’s Eddy Cue says success starts by saying ‘no’ to almost everything

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Apple‘s senior vice president of services Eddy Cue attributes a lot of the success the market’s biggest company has to saying “no” more often than “yes.”

“We say ‘no’ to almost everything,” Cue said in a conversation with CNBC’s Jim Cramer at the inaugural CNBC CEO Council Summit in Santa Barbara, California, on Tuesday. “When you get as large as we are, it’s easy to think you can do anything or everything, and it’s just not true.”

According to Cue, an idea only makes it off the drawing board at Apple if it’s something the company knows it can execute well and if it’s something consumers really care about.

Cue joined Apple in 1989 as manager of software engineering. Since then, he’s been a key figure in numerous Apple innovations, including the launch of the iTunes Store and the company’s foray into sports streaming.

Apple secured a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer in 2022 and the service became available to fans for the first time at the start of this year’s season. Cue referenced ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky’s famous ability to see ahead when discussing Apple’s foray into sports streaming.

“We wanted to go where the puck was going, not where the puck was,” Cue said. “That’s what [Gretzky] does. He skates to where the puck was going, not to where the puck is. And that’s the same thing we wanted to do with sports.”