Apple CEO Tim Cook steps up on the auction block again

Offers an hour-long lunch on Apple's campus to benefit the RFK Center; last year's date raised $610K for the human rights organization

Apple CEO Tim Cook today again put himself on an auction block, repeating an offer that last year brought in $610,000 for the Washington, D.C.-based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The center's celebrity auctioneer -- the website Charitybuzz -- highlighted Cook's participation Thursday, in part because of the large amount his coffee date went for in 2013. In a statement, Charitybuzz called his participation last year "incredibly successful."

As well it would: The $610,000 winning bid in 2013 tied a record for the charity site, matching a sale of a Lamborghini and bringing in more than twice the $255,000 paid earlier for a day with former President Bill Clinton that money raised for his foundation.

The bidding for a date with Cook opened today and will close May 13 at 2 p.m. ET. Charitybuzz valued the hour-long lunch, which will take place on Apple's Cupertino, Calif. campus, at $100,000.

Bidding began at $10,000 today and quickly escalated to $50,000, where it was as of 2 p.m. ET. The top bidder was identified only as "scotwingo."

The identity of last year's winner was not disclosed, as per the bidder's request, Charitybuzz said today in a reply to questions.

Bidders interested in trying put themselves on Cook's calendar can read more about the auction on Charitybuzz's website. The auctioneer said that "additional credit card authorization will be required for all bidders."

Other items on the RFK Center's auction block included lunch with Timothy Geithner, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary; a meet-and-greet with actor Bryan Cranston, who starred in the now-discontinued Breaking Bad television series; and a three-hour VIP tour of Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif. campus, lunch and a meeting with an unnamed senior executive of the firm.

Another way to score a breaking-bread date with Cook would be to buy billions in Apple stock, then press the company to boost its stock repurchasing program: Activist investor Carl Icahn used that strategy last year to dine with Cook.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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