Is Apple CEO Tim Cook insane (or just one heck of a guy)?

“Tim Cook reportedly sent an urgent memo yesterday addressing alleged violations of health and safety at factories of suppliers, following negative stories in NYT and elsewhere,” Rocco Pendola writes for Seeking Alpha. “Cook says Apple is ‘attacking problems aggressively’ and that the company is leading the industry by planning to open up to the Fair Labor Association for inspection of suppliers’ facilities.”

“This sort of response is not very Jobsian. Neither are all of the feel-good memos addressing the ‘team’ and actions such as encouraging members to make charitable donations that Apple would proudly match,” Pendola writes. “That’s very San Francisco of Cook. And that runs in stark contrast to Jobs, who, while born in San Francisco, ended up being, according to Lashinsky’s account, the farthest thing from a ‘do-good liberal,’ at least in the financial and business matters we think we know about via the media.”

“Let me be clear about a few things. As a human, I prefer the Cook style over the Jobs style any day of the week. I’ve learned from experience that you’ll lead a better life doing things the Cook way,” Pendola writes. “That said, I think Jobs would hammer Cook for what he’s doing. At some point, Cook is going to write a memo or do the right thing one too many times out of concern for Apple’s ‘values.”‘ One of these moves could end up harming the business and hurting the stock. Simply put, Jobs probably stayed much further away from this sort of thing than Cook does not because he was a bad guy with no ‘values,’ but because he did not want to wake sleeping dogs or tiptoe around land mines.”

Pendola writes, “I’m not saying Cook’s way of being provides a reason to sell or not buy Apple stock. I am, however, pointing to an area of legitimate concern. People close to the situation seem to think that the worst in Jobs is what brought out the best in Apple. If that was indeed the magic, it’s about to be gone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook is not going to “harm the business” because he believes in doing the right thing and communicating it with employees (and everyone else). If anything, he’ll only enhance the business.

Related article:
Apple CEO Tim Cook calls New York Times supplier report ‘patently false and offensive’ – January 27, 2012

62 Comments

  1. I used to read the NYT daily but somewhere along the way they became the voice of despair.

    They should sort their own house first. It’s on the skids financially.

  2. Every time you knock Tim’s work, you insult SJ’s decision to trust that Tim will do well in the position at Apple. Let’s not get caught up in the details. Let’s remember the prize at the end—making great products for people! Tim know’s SJ’s vision and he will keep it true going forward. Let Tim do his job in this post-SJ era. Enough with the, “What would SJ do?”.

  3. It’s a thin line between insanely great and greatly insane. Tim Cook earned his spurs by getting in front of problems and heading them off. We wouldn’t want the answer to “Why aren’t iPhones assembled in America” to become “Because Apple would have to treat the hired hands too fairly”. THAT would be crazy.

  4. I think Jobs learnt the hard way about the press.

    He was a ‘rock star’ for a long time and he found out how the press would twist things to sell articles, so after awhile like many geniuses he kept to himself.

    Imagine: if Apple contributed to a charity helping starving in africa , NYT, Zdnet, Bldoget’s Business Insider , WSJ etc will write : “Apple does not care about the starving in AMERICA only overseas!!!” and “Is Apple charity overseas a scam to avoid returning cash to the U.S to pay taxes?” Lots of people dislike apple so Apple is painted by the press as the ‘rich ‘snobbish’ dude with the gleaming BMW’ ie like a TV drama a character easily villianized. Apple hating articles sell. (In america it seems to be a super rich and poweful you have to act ‘folksy’ like Warren Buffet or Sam Walton who drove an old pickup truck or people will hate you)

    Real life example iPhone 4 had a 1.6% return rate = ‘Antennagate’…

    In the Gizmodo stolen iPhone court case the judge although he found he couldn’t prosecute them said he was appalled the testimony of Gizmodo staffers showed that the editorial policy in place was to hurt apple (anti apple articles sell)

    I think Jobs after awhile just found it pointless to explain himself.

  5. A lot of people argue that a company is there to make money. That seems to imply that anything (like being ethical) that gets in the way of profit is wrong because of the “definition” of a company.

    We’ve seen, however, over the past decade or two that more and more companies are showing that, perhaps, it is not only their duty to make profit but also that they have responsibility with what they do. A lot of people, I think, will appreciate a company like Apple if they were to make sure that not only are the green but “people green” too.

    Apple will still have killer profits but throwing a few dollars into their people and such will go a long way on the PR end of things.

    I think a good phrase is “responsibly capitalism”. Success and responsible are not mutually exclusive.

    1. Then there is the garden-variety MDN commenter way, which if adopted by Apple would result in a schizophrenetic Microsoftianization of a once-great company and its reduction to a drying ink blot in five years.

  6. Bla. Bla. Bla!

    Vision and Discipline.

    Steve was right in setting his course and by God he and his employees were going to get there. What does that have to do with Tim Cook?

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