SAN FRANCISCO — Apple's Tim Cook is the first publicly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Amid the din of applause, one might also ask: What took so long?

Public confirmations of sexuality have increased in Hollywood, and have started to appear in the sports world, including that of football player Michael Sam, who came out right before this year's NFL draft. But it's rare to see in the traditionally conservative business world, let alone at one of the world's most profitable tech companies.