After iPhone 5, can Tim Cook make Apple his own?

“Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs — and so far, that hasn’t been a problem for Apple Inc.,” Andrea Chang and Jessica Guynn report for The Los Angeles Times. “It has become the world’s most valuable company, adding about $265 billion in value since Cook became chief executive 13 months ago. Shares have soared 76% and profits continue to rise. Investors feel valued with Cook lending them an ear and handing them a dividend. But all that may not be enough.”

“With Apple poised to announce the long-awaited iPhone 5 on Wednesday and reap heavy sales from it, analysts and software developers are looking beyond the product launch to whether Cook can set his own course at the company after the death of its co-founder,” Chang and Guynn report. “‘I think we are definitely still riding Steve Jobs’ stewardship,’ said Matt Brezina, chief executive of mobile start-up Sincerely Inc. ‘Tim needs to define what kind of leader he is externally. As a developer on their platform, I’m not quite sure what kind of leader he is yet.'”

Chang and Guynn report, “Much of Apple’s success can still be traced back to Jobs. So far, Cook has delivered only incremental product improvements with the Siri-equipped iPhone 4S and an iPad tablet with better screen resolution — not the showstopper that Apple will eventually need in a fast-paced, hits-driven business. Both the iPhone and the iPad are credited to Jobs… “The $64,000 question is: Does Tim have the ability to lead the organization to another major breakthrough in a new product category?” said Pete Solvik, managing director of venture capital firm Sigma and a former Apple employee. ‘I have little doubt he is going to have continued success with revisions of the current products. Everybody hopes that he has the ability to sustain the business with a new hit too.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: According to various sources, we’ve heard that Jobs had input into iPhone 5’s design and feature set. How much input is not known. The “iPhone 6” will be attributable to the leadership of Tim Cook alone. Plus, we all know that, if there is an “Apple iTV,” it was Jobs who “cracked it,” not Cook, so that product won’t fully count for Cook, either. We’re some time from being able to judge Cook as more than an extremely competent caretaker CEO. Even if Cook is “just” that – and, again, nobody knows, yet – then he’s exactly what Apple needs until the next visionary CEO arrives.

Let’s give Mr. Cook some time to execute.

30 Comments

  1. I was watching “Steve Jobs, The Lost Interview” the other night, and Steve talks about what happens when a company like Apple becomes so successful they’re indistinguishable from a monopoly.

    He said that the people who brought the company to that point are pushed aside, i.e. the engineers, designers, etc.

    He said that marketing people take over.

    He said that such companies forget the value of building great products for the sake of building great products.

    I believe we are watching this happen at Apple.

    Tim is no visionary. He may not even have the vision needed to seek out a visionary. I believe a great product is one that is built “just in time” as far as Tim is concerned. I don’t believe this is a man who can sit down with a proposed product and say “It’s shit” or “It’s great.” I don’t believe he can challenge and inspire great people to do great things.

    Steve Jobs picked Tim, but as MDN has said, Steve also picked John Scully.

    Hopefully Tim will recognize what he is and what he isn’t before it’s too late and stop doing a bad impression of Steve during product announcements.

    What the share holders say, what the press says, none of this should take precedence over building great products.

    1. Tim Cook is an operations genius. He is not a marketing person – as evidenced by Apple’s TV commercials since Steve ascended.

      (Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.)

    2. I think you and MDN are selling Cook and Apple, and ultimately Steve short. Steve very clearly said that he built apple for continued success. He established an internal leadership program. He was keenly aware of what you state and I believe set the table for apple to continue greatness for years to come. He made it bozo proof. Other than the retail knucklehead, nearly every significant vp and senior vp was put there by him, mentored by him and learned the right way to success from him.

      I also believe that most recent criticism is overblown hyperbole because it is Apple, and the truth is there are a lot of haters in this world. Everyone wants to see the big dog fall. Apple is not used to being the market leader and all the nonsense that comes with it. They will figure out how to do this better too. They have world class products, marketing and supply chain management. They have unrivaled retail experience, and pretty damn good support, in the USA. They also know how to disrupt and now have a big stick to wield in future negotiations. The only thing different is it is now harder to sneak up and they need to do better at managing expectations.

      1. No one here wants to see Apple fail. Just the opposite really. I believe that for Apple to succeed, Tim needs to do what Tim does best, operations/supply chain and he needs to find someone with that spark. Employees at Apple have been saying as much, that where engineers and designers were king, now the MBAs and petty power struggles have taken over.

        1. I’m hoping that Johnny Ive will save the day . . . I think he has the talent and a few others have the know how. He is however not the natural orator that Steve was . . . but . . . he has the ability to steer the vision ship. If I remember correctly Steve set it up so that everyone HAS to listen to him. Smart move. Let’s see what they have in store for us for the holiday season.

        1. I would say in multiple takes, they are much quicker to judge, and overly harsh towards Tim. All this waiting for the next Steve is regressive, he is one of a kind, a rare bird. You won’t see another, the worlds been waiting since Macintosh and the guy still doesn’t exist. Steve’s era is over, he is gone. He set up the company as best he could, he asked his team to not ask what he would do, so why the constant hand wringing? Get over it already. Steve hand picked cook, he personally mentored him, if Steve is the end all be all, why not trust his instincts and give the guy a break already.

    3. Well, visionaries like Steve Jobs don’t come around everyday. In fact, there have only been a handful in the last century. I’m fairly certain that Jobs did not make the decision to put Cook in charge lightly and I’m sure the company will remain on top for some years to come.

      From a financial standpoint, Apple’s best days may still be ahead, but let’s be honest, from an innovative standpoint I believe we’ve experienced they greatest days from Apple while Steve was in charge. That’s not a slam, it’s just reality. As history has proven over and over again, nothing lasts forever, no one stays on top forever. What goes up must come down.

  2. People know how Steve was. Why are they now suddenly thinking that he only thought about the product that was in his hand? He thought forwardly, and I’m sure there are many ideas he had we’ve not even seen yet.
    In addition, the culture of Apple is attributable to Jobs. So, what’s Cook supposed to do? Change the whole company because Steve died?

    1. Exactly. I disagree with MDN’s comment. Give Tim his due. He has been executing for years.

      Unlike with Sculley, Jobs would not say, “I hired the wrong guy.”

      If Tim is a failure, then so was Steve. After all, Tim was Steve’s recommendation for CEO.

  3. I followed and admired Steve and Woz since the garage days
    when they were featured in Billboard magazine. I don’t want to take away any of Steve’s accomplishments, but lets be fair to
    workers like Jonny Ives that really invented the i-Mac, and I’m
    sure lots of other Apple folks that did likewise. You see Steve was quick to take credit for
    the successes and pawn the turkeys off on others. It was just in his DNA. Someone will have the idea, the spark, hell,
    I can sit and imagine the next big convergence. What is it?
    The i-Phone and i-Pad will merge into one product! With
    OLED flexible screens the new device will be like a trifold
    billfold, closed-your phone, open- your i-Pad! And with flexible
    circuit boards it might be your actual billfold too!

  4. As soon as the ‘suits’ move in and the ‘bean counters’ take their seats at the Board Of Directors at Apple Inc. then it is doomed to becoming just one more tech company in the mainstream of ‘flotsam’.

    1. indeed. with the compensation Tim gets, he should be expected to walk on unfrozen water. as a shareholder, i don’t want short-term stock manipulation, i want innovation for long term prosperity. Tim Cook has given me no indication that the latter is the priority.

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