Bob Lefsetz, a music industry veteran, “has a post that attacks Tim Cook as a ‘charisma-challenged’ CEO whose silence as Apple crashes is causing big problems for Apple,” Jay Yarow reports for Business Insider.

“He thinks that Cook, or someone at Apple, should be publicly or privately, trying to shift the narrative on Apple,” Yarow reports. “Lefsetz says, ‘If you read the press today, you believe the iPhone is in a death spiral, that Samsung is king and Apple is going downhill.’ And Apple’s response to these stories is absolute silence.”

Yarow reports, “You can’t respond to every little story, but, ‘when it’s raw misinformation, and the public is acting on it, you’ve got to put in your two cents, you’ve got to spin the story.’ The problem for Apple is that it doesn’t have Steve Jobs, who was a master at massaging the media and expressing himself in a convincing way.”

Read more in the full article here.

On his blog, “The Lefsetz Letter,” Lefsetz writes, in part:

…There’s no leader at Apple. Tim Cook is charisma-challenged. He starts to speak and credibility goes out the window. Phil Schiller has more gravitas, and Jonny Ive eclipses even him, but who’s really driving this car? Everybody knows Cook is an efficiency expert. Who’s the heart and soul of the enterprise, and where is it going?

The vacuum is such that way down the food chain, where the rubber meets the road, where people buy stuff, Apple is losing steam. It’s gone from trustworthy monolith to dying empire, all based on spin. People in the press and online saying Apple is toast with few facts to back it up.

…You’ve got to manage your image. You cannot let the hoi polloi run ragged with your story. You’ve got to control it. I’m not saying you should lie, but at least give some real guidance. Otherwise you’re like Apple, with a tanking stock and everybody piling on.

Full blog post here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps Tim would like for Apple’s results to speak for themselves? We’ll know soon enough, on January 23rd.

And, Steve, as great as he was, was also quite tone-deaf at times. See: “You’re holding it wrong.”

We specifically remember criticizing Jobs’ and Apple’s inability to get out in front of damaging issues, real, imagined, or concocted. (Just a couple of examples here and here).

So Jobs wasn’t infallible and Cook is just doing things the way Apple did things under Steve.

Apple, even without Cook in charge, has always been horrible at managing PR debacles, preferring, it would seem to let them snowball to the point where the company brass is forced to hold major press conferences or issue public apologies.

Either everyone in Apple’s PR department is incompetent – unlikely, since getting out ahead of things instead of letting them fester is PR 101: basic message management – or their hands are tied. This could be a holdover attitude from Jobs himself. After all, he could be, uh… a bit controlling.

Cook would do well to make a change by unchaining Apple’s PR department and allowing them do their jobs for a change.

That said, this issue of “iPhone component cuts” isn;t really a job for Apple PR and really doesn’t need to be publicly addressed. Top analysts could easily be briefed by Apple execs about what’s really happening, unless doing so would give away some secrets that Apple would rather not divulge. For example: “We cut orders because a new display technology is coming.” That would basically give away the next iPhone production ramp schedule and launch window. So, in this case, unlike with Antennagate, Apple is probably keeping quiet in order to protect sensitive product information that would benefit their competitors if revealed.

Lefsetz does have some things right: Jony Ive is excellent on video and in public (we hear he doesn’t like to do it, but he’s captivating when he does). He has his own RDF; almost Jobsian, in fact. Cook, who tries hard, bless his heart, doesn’t have it, Schiller doesn’t have it, Forstall didn’t have it – no fault of theirs, it’s a very rare gift.

Apple has a leader: Tim Cook. That doesn’t mean he has to be the face of Apple. Jony Ive is obviously better suited for that.

We’ve long said that we’d love to see Jony Ive on stage during Apple keynotes. Maybe with Cook’s recent executive shakeup, we’ll finally get the chance!

Do it, Tim and Jony!

Related article:
What happens when Steve Jobs dies? – August 20, 2003