BusinessWeek: Tim Cook should lead Apple capably during Jobs’ six-month medical leave

“As Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs steps away from the helm for a six-month medical leave, the eyes of investors, customers, and employees are intently focused on his No. 2, Chief Operating Officer Timothy D. Cook,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.

“Cook, who will handle day-to-day operations while Jobs is away, is known as a skilled manager who makes up in operational chops what he lacks in marketing and design savvy. There’s little question Jobs will be missed. Yet Cook, who ran Apple in 2004 when Jobs was recuperating from cancer surgery, is widely expected to guide the company with a steady hand,” Hesseldahl reports.

“As COO, Cook is an indispensable member of Apple’s corporate bench. Where Steve Jobs is Apple’s public face and its final arbiter of product design and positioning, Cook is responsible for day-to-day operations, outside observers and former employees say. ‘Steve is the visionary,’ says one former employee who asked not to be named. ‘Tim is the guy who makes the trains run on time,'” Hesseldahl reports.

“For all his operational star power, Cook isn’t the master of marketing and products that Jobs is. In Jobs’ absence, product design decisions will likely fall to Jonathan Ive, senior vice-president of industrial design, the man behind the design of the iMac, the iPod, and many other products,” Hesseldahl reports. “‘When it comes to design, they most often defer to Ive,’ says Tim Bajarin, head of Creative Strategies, a tech consulting firm.”

Hesseldahl reports, “But don’t underestimate Cook, cautions Gartner analyst Mike McGuire. Having spent more than a decade in Jobs’ closely guarded executive circle, Cook will have learned more than a thing or two about how to launch successful products. ‘I don’t know Cook that well, but my guess is he isn’t just an ops guy,’ McGuire says. ‘I don’t think you survive at Apple as just an operations guy. I don’t think you get let into the inner sanctum as just an operations guy.'”

Full article here.

14 Comments

  1. You know, as a shareholder, this all kind of sucks. But, shit happens. I’ve never bought AAPL based on Steve Jobs health. I wish the man a (speedy) recovery.

    That said, whatever Steve’s fate, I will continue to buy Apple products until they disappear, which I doubt will happen anyway. MS Windows will NEVER be a home option for me. I’d sooner switch to Linux or directly to UNIX. Maybe even Solaris.
    Since Scott Forstall came from NeXT, I trust him to understand Jobs’ vision to some degree. Stop worrying and keep buying the Apple products you know you love…… and STFU!!

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