“Mr. Cook, who declined to be interviewed for this article, finds himself not only in the limelight, but also under scrutiny. Of late, [Apple] has hit a snag that was years in the making: Its sales now are so large that many investors worry that it can’t continue to match the growth that brought it from $65 billion in sales in the 2010 fiscal year to $171 billion in 2013,” Matt Richtel and Brian X. Chen report for The New York Times. “In fiscal 2013, sales grew a mere 9 percent, far below an average just shy of 40 percent a year from 2004 to 2013. Profits slimmed. And the stock price fell nearly in half from its 2012 peak to the middle of 2013, vastly underperforming the market.”

“Investors have clamored for Apple wizardry — a much-anticipated iWatch or iTV, perhaps. To these critics, Mr. Cook is uninspiring, his social views window dressing, when what they want is magic,” Richtel and Chen report. “To shore up shareholder faith, Mr. Cook split the stock, increased the dividend and engineered a $90 billion buyback — steps that helped shares rebound almost entirely. He has taken other steps to strengthen the company, like pushing Apple products into China, a potentially huge market, and acquiring talent, most recently spending $3 billion to buy Beats, a music company that brings Apple two major music-industry shakers and deal makers, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.”

“Reflecting his personal views, Mr. Cook is trying to broaden Apple’s brand, too, taking to Twitter and other public venues to express support for environmentalism and gay rights (and for Auburn University football). He has also emphasized the use of sustainable products at the company. Early in his tenure, playing catch-up with other corporations, he established a program to match employee charitable contributions; he has upped the company’s own giving, too,” Richtel and Chen report. “Jonathan Ive, the head of design at Apple and a name nearly as adored by its followers as Steve Jobs, says Mr. Cook has not neglected the company’s central mission: innovation. ‘Honestly, I don’t think anything’s changed,’ he said. And that includes the clamor for some exciting new thing. ‘People felt exactly the same way when we were working on the iPhone,’ Mr. Ive added. ‘It is hard for all of us to be patient… It was hard for Steve. It is hard for Tim.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve written in various forms many times, as recently as May 31st:

Those who underestimate Tim Cook’s Apple are in for a rude awakening.

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