Can Tim Cook do what Steve Jobs couldn’t?

“Apple watchers have been closely watching CEO Tim Cook, wondering if he — or anyone — could take the place of the company’s co-founder and icon Steve Jobs,” Erik Sherman writes for CBS News.

“The inherent assumption behind much of the coverage of the transition from Jobs to Cook has been whether the latter can keep the magic going: Both the financially resounding results and a parade of ‘magical’ products that continue to capture the public’s eye and enable the continued expansion of a customer base that assures Wall Street remains happy,” Sherman writes. “The biggest question for the faithful is whether products that wow customers will continue to churn out. Some assume that Jobs was the driving force behind all that was good. A driving force? Certainly. The driving force? Probably not.”

Sherman writes, “Cook doesn’t possess the aura and many of the strengths that he brings and that Apple needs are incompatible with that sort of presence. And yet, can all of that taken together be enough without a physical embodiment of the Apple mythos? That is the biggest unknown of them all.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]

33 Comments

    1. That question is easy. The average person looks for simple answers. The average ANAL…..yst looks for blog hits.

      Put the two together and there you go. LOL But the truth is simple. Most of the people here recognize it.

      Make insanely great products that you would love to use.
      Work the bugs out.
      Make them easy to use.

      Simple, n’est pas?

  1. “The inherent assumption” is that Steve Jobs was the best person to “keep the magic going.” Therefore, the next CEO should be someone “like Steve.”

    Certainly, Steve Jobs with Tim Cook at his side would have been ideal. Steve Jobs saved Apple from the brink of failure, and made it what it is today with his creative genius. Now that Apple has arrived as the most valuable company in the world, having the operational genius behind Apple’s success as CEO is likely to be a VERY GOOD thing. Steve Jobs infused his creative genius into the company itself.

    1. Really agree. These bloggers that have no experience yet have all the “expertise ” are really beginning to get to me.

      “If I ran Apple, I would make it like RIM”. OK except RIM is circling the rim in todays news. LOL

      en

  2. ” Some assume that Jobs was the driving force behind all that was good. A driving force? Certainly. The driving force? Probably not.”

    This is the answer.

    Apple was not Steve jobs. There are many people behind Steve jobs at apple that made the company and products great.

    And besides.. It’s not like I’m going to go buy a dell now that Steve is gone…

    1. Steve was a driving force, he is not the end all be all of driving forces.

      Steve PICKED Cook, he knew he well, mentored and learned from him for years.

      Apple is fine, Cook is an A, Steve did not suffer bozos..

  3. Obviously, this writer is clueless.

    Considering hundreds of patents and patents applications that Jobs had, as well as his unique attention to detail obsession, he was both a driving force and the driving force.

    Also, there is no way to judge about Cook product-wise in the nearest five years, since conceptually most of what Apple could do in this time was already envisioned and conceptualized by Jobs.

    Cook can be fully judged only by the late 2010s.

      1. ER,,,, just wondering… Do you thing Tim Cook is the only one at Apple doing things…. There is a whole senior staff starting with SIR Jony Ivy that actually are focused on design, function, code, etc.

        Just a thought. en

  4. Steve Jobs is no longer with us and that’s a simple fact. He didn’t leave big shoes to fill because he took them, too.

    Cook is the man now. Jobs trusted him, I trust him. I’m tired of bullish!t comparisons from the chattering class.

    1. “..He didn’t leave big shoes to fill because he took them, too..”

      What a beautiful turn of words, and a wonderfully visual concept. Thank you, steve h.

    2. I’ve got no complaints about the job that Tim Cook is doing, and trust that Jobs knew what he was doing when choosing Cook as his successor.

      Nonetheless, Steve does cast a huge shadow, and it’s going to take time for Tim to really come into his own, at least as a public persona outside of 1 Infinite Loop.

      FWIW, and as a sign of the times, I sat looking through the yearbook my daughter brought home yesterday from a suburban Pittsburgh high school, somewhat surprised to find a full two-page spread dedicated to Steve Jobs and his impact on the life of the students! It was quite something!

    3. steve h.
      Exactly!

      If Tim Cook was an exact copy of Steve Jobs the headline questions would be: Does Apple need another Steve Jobs or would it be better off with someone new?

      Tim Cook is an impressive guy and I expect great things from Apple.

  5. In the Fortune Article there are several quotes about Cookiewuss’s New Apple that worry the crap out of me:

    “…It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine,” says Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011. “I’ve been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management,” he says. “When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority…”

    “…Elsewhere there are signs of Apple becoming a more normal company…”

    “…The ultimate “tell” of tectonic changes at Apple will be the quality of its products. Those looking for deficiencies have found them in Siri, a less-than-perfect product that Apple released with the rare beta label in late 2011, a signal that the service shouldn’t be viewed as fully baked. Siri’s response time has been slow, meaning the servers and software powering it are inadequate. “People are embarrassed by Siri,” says one former insider. “Steve would have lost his mind over Siri.” …”

    1. The fortune article lack perspective I think. LOTS of former Apple people weight in on Apple all the time and they are not always right, it doesn’t give their article any additional weight.

      Just because they married global supply chain at all levels, doesn’t make it a bad thing. The also push the envelopes and innovate in those areas s well. It makes them operate better and certainly not “normal” like any company EVER.

      They are researching and developing/helping to develop silicon, metal alloys, glass, new manufacturing techniques.

      A lot of that comes from Cook, STEVES PICK remember? It’s not like he is new there either. He has been there, been involved and is part of the culture there. He gets his spin, his way, now.

      Siri problems are overflow, BETA, it will continue to dramatically improve. Count on it.

  6. Not to mention this one… “… Apple board member Al Gore praised Cook for leading Apple to new heights “while implementing major policy changes smoothly and brilliantly.” When queried by Fortune, neither Apple nor Gore would explain precisely what policy changes the former vice president of the United States was referring to….”

    1. You are just letting your politics get in the way of this one.

      GREEN initiatives.
      Charitable matching.
      Manufacturing: worker issues.

      Cook changed all these. They align with AL’s politics.

  7. Job was not a modest man, and he fully appreciated his contribution to the success of Apple. However, he was a smart man and, I believe, confident that he could build an infrastructure which embodied his values. He certainly gave this a great deal of thought, and he had time to give the succession a priority which might have been denied had he not known of his limited time. Instead of sniping at Tim Cook and the team Jobs left behind, we should be encouraging Apple to fulfil Jobs’ legacy. Given the success of Apple’s long-term approach to business, there is every reason to believe that Jobs’ strategic plans for Apple will be just as successful.

  8. I don’t understand the question in the headline. What is it that Mr Jobs couldn’t do or would never have been able to accomplish??

    I read Mr Sherman’s article and his

    “more important question: Can Cook do what is necessary for the company that Jobs would never have been able to accomplish?”

    doesn’t make sense to me when in his own explanation

    “The inherent assumption behind much of the coverage of the transition from Jobs to Cook has been whether the latter can keep the magic going: Both the financially resounding results and a parade of “magical” products that continue to capture the public’s eye and enable the continued expansion of a customer base that assures Wall Street remains happy.”

    Mr Sherman switches things saying of the transition from Jobs to Cook, whether Cook can keep the magic going. This implies Mr Jobs kept the magic going.

    Am I messing/missing something??

    1. Good catch. I was wondering about that as well. When you think about it, the headline is a hit whore, with Jobs as the bait. Once you realize that, the rest of the article falls into the typical anal-ist droning.

  9. Like it or not, [some] things have changed at Apple. Just look at the dividend and stock purchase program. What else has changed, specially inside Apple, or what else will change moving forward? Difficult to tell. We just need to wait and see; hopefully all past and coming changes are for the better.

    Change per se or shifting away from some of Mr Jobs ways is not bad. However some things cannot change, like Apple’s core values, which in Mr Cook own words, all know from the source:

    “Steve grilled in all of us over many years that the company should revolve around great products and that we should stay extremely focused on few things rather than try to do so many that we did nothing well.” He called Apple a “magical place” where employees could do “their life’s best work.”

    The moment any bozos start giving priority to time frames or deadlines over great products, the moment Apple enters its own Microsoftian era.

    Apple, for the most part, has very well established product schedules, timeframes, and deadlines that have worked well over the years. I don’t see change is necessary in this area.

    Mr Sherman links to the transcript posted by Leander Kahney of an interview of Mr Sculley about Steve Jobs
    http://www.cultofmac.com/63295/john-sculley-on-steve-jobs-the-full-interview-transcript/

    and there you can read about many of Mr Jobs core principles. Let me quote two of Mr Sculley answers as an example of Steve’s grill:

    “Steve would say: “The organization can become bigger but not the Mac team. The Macintosh was set up as a product development division — and so Apple had a central sales organization, a central back office for all the administration, legal. It had a centralized manufacturing of that sort but the actual team that was building the product, and this is true for high tech products, it doesn’t take a lot of people to build a great product.””

    “The thing that separated Steve Jobs from other people like Bill Gates — Bill was brilliant too — but Bill was never interested in great taste. He was always interested in being able to dominate a market. He would put out whatever he had to put out there to own that space. Steve would never do that. Steve believed in perfection. Steve was willing to take extraordinary chances in trying new product areas but it was always from the vantage point of being a designer.”

    1. Agreed. Every time I see Tim in a picture representing Apple, he has a glow about him. Confidence, friendliness, humility. Might be a different “special” than Steve, but I (stockholder) feel great about him running the company.

      The is no one “right” way. Tim will continue Apple’s greatness his own way.

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