What’s behind Apple CEO Tim Cook’s media blitz?

“This morning, Bloomberg Businessweek published an 11-page interverview with Apple CEO Tim Cook,” Chris Ziegler reports for The Verge. “Tonight, he’ll appear on NBC News’ Rock Center with Brian Williams, perched over the trademark wood tables of the enormous Apple Store in New York City’s Grand Central Station.”

“Outside of press events and the occasional low-key public appearance, Cook has largely avoided a media blitz since taking the reins in Cupertino after Steve Jobs’ death in 2011. He participated in D: All Things Digital earlier this year, but so did his former boss. This is different. Apple’s handlers are putting him out there,” Ziegler reports. “But why? And why now?”

Ziegler reports, “‘I think it’s reflective of an Apple that’s demonstrating it’s still ‘Apple’ but being led in a different way by Tim Cook who’s bringing his own style of leadership to the Apple culture,’ suggests Gartner’s Michael Gartenberg… Investors — almost invariably bullish on the goose that keeps laying golden eggs — have seemingly started to take notice [of recent miscues], sending shares of AAPL to some of their lowest levels since the iPhone 5 launch in September. In light of that, a calculated plan to reassure Wall Street by showing Cook is real, capable, and fully in charge of a healthy organization could be just what the doctor ordered.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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Tim Cook’s freshman year: Apple CEO speaks in extensive interview – December 6, 2012
NBC News to air segment featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook on December 6th – December 1, 2012

24 Comments

  1. Tim feels internally conflicted about firing Scott Forstall and feels he has to salve his conscience by externalising his pent up feelings to the media.

    Without Steve Jobs’ super ego to keep the other egomaniacs in check, a volcanic eruption was bound to occur. Sure enough, Vesuvius blew its top and Pompeii had to pay the price.

    He’s just doing normal housekeeping by keeping the bad karma away so the public in general understands his motives behind the firing.

  2. ‘NEVER’, trust anything said or done on Wall Street. There is no one descriptive adjective in any language that best describes what goes on there. ‘Corrupt’ is but a starting point.

  3. Pep rally, of course. That’s about all that most CEOs do. To some extent, that’s not a bad thing.

    However, it remains to be seen if Tim’s pep rally will overcome the last couple years of relatively slow/bug-ridden Apple product releases. Sure, there have been many excellent moves, but analysts have been offering highly mixed reviews for quite a while now, starting with the overblown “Antennagate”. I know the lunatic fringe of the Apple religion hates to hear any constructive criticism, but a lot of us still believe Tim has been too plodding, inadequately decisive, and vastly overcompensated. Time will tell. One thing’s sure: Ballmer is an order of magnitude worse in every way.

    1. That’s lunatic fringe analysis…

      Under Tim Cook’s watch, we’ve had the benefit of ON TIME and even accelerated release of key products. iOS 5 and iOS 6. iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. The implementation of iCloud to allow iOS devices to be independent computers. Mac OS X Mountain Lion ONE year after Lion. The Retina Display MacBook Pro 15-inch followed by the 13-inch version, and the recent major revision of iMac. The Retina Display iPad followed about six months later by the entirely new iPad mini and the 4th gen “big” iPad. And MUCH MORE…

      Which part of that is “plodding.” It probably took some “adequate” decisiveness to make all that (the important stuff) happen on time and mostly smoothly. Instead, some people cherry pick the few things that did not go as smoothly (the less important stuff) and that is what gets the headlines, because Apple “business as usual” is not a good story for media.

      So look at the big picture, not just what the popular media feeds you… 🙂

      1. Well, this lunatic doesn’t want Apple to become another bloated Microsoft. Uninspired incremental “innovation” that offers no new value, or even blatant anti-consumer decision-making, should be called out for what it is.

        iOS 5, iOS 6: incremental predictable evolution with no “must-have” features, broke Maps

        iPhone 4S: incremental predictable evolution, lost ground to Android
        iPhone 5: excellent under-hood advance. screwed up supply chain

        iCloud: severely limiting service that appeals only to media consumers, not computing professionals. might be profitable when Microsoft & Apple truly force their rent-as-you-go-computing pipe dream.

        MacBook Retinas: exciting innovation in one dimension; sadly, limited market so far. inadequate software support. Apple has not flowed this across the product line. new iMac doesn’t support the higher resolution, so what’s a software developer supposed to do? Apple Displays don’t support the resolution either. If you want to push a new standard, then get on it!

        iPad 4: classic botched introduction. introducing a tweaked product a few months after a “new release” is not praiseworthy, it shows botched schedules and pisses off customers. ditching the dock connector was, as usual, implemented in a very awkward and unfriendly manner to both 3rd party accessory makers and end users.

        iPad mini: uninspired “me-too” product by any measure

        iPods: nice refreshes overall, although the Classic hasn’t received any love in years. Is Apple incapable of refreshing it with a SSD to make it superior in battery life & storage capacity?

        iMac: 1 step forward in specs, 5 steps backwards in user-upgreadeability.

        Mac Pro: still waiting! Stale graphics processing, no thunderbolt

        OS X 10.7, 10.8 : both huge disappointments. more fluff, more bloat, no compelling efficiency or capability improvement whatsoever that can’t be better implemented at application level.

        iTunes – version 11 is a disappointment. no significant functionality improvements, just styling update and function removal.

        iPhoto, iMove, iLife, etc – stale

        iWork – going on 4 years without real improvement. beyond stale, not even close to competitive vs Excel or Word.

        Final Cut Pro X – broken

        Logic – need I go on?

        Apple TV – still a hobby, apparently. NFL, NBA, live sports anybody?

        Apple Retail – bit of a hiccup there, yes?

        Executive shuffle – i suppose it’s open to interpretation how decisively and well that was handled.

        New corporate spaceship building: what lack of logic and taste

        The downfall of any great organization is accompanied by hubris and lack of honest self-analysis. “Fringe” Apple users such as myself just expect more than mediocrity with a shiny fascia.

        1. And doing ALL OF THAT in a period of about one year is your definition of “plodding and inadequate.” You can nitpick the details all you want, and give your personal OPINION on whether something is good or bad, but the bottom line is in the sales of Apple’s key products. Every key product Apple has released since Tim Cook officially became CEO, from iPods to iPhones to iPads to Macs has been enthusiastically received by ACTUAL customers.

          1. Ken, did you not read the post? Half of the items on the list were NOT done; others were clearly fumbled.

            An organization with Apple’s resources can and should have a vastly better batting average. A few years ago, they did.

            Moreover, sales/market share do not correlate to quality. Usually quite the opposite. The key is to maintain sufficient quality and volume to maximize profit for the long term — quality that keeps people coming back. I absolutely believe that hardware quality remains as high as ever. However, software releases and business decisions/practices have not — and I’m not the only one with this opinion.

            1. Hence, the removal of Scott Forstall, Craig Federighi taking on the equivalent role going forward, and Jony Ive in his new role to make hardware and software integration even tighter. Jony Ive is now essentially “second-in-command” of Apple.

              These are moves made by Tim Cook… During his first year as the “official” CEO, Apple has delivered big when it counts most. He clearly focused his attention on what was most important, and he is taking action to correct the less important problems that have occurred.

  4. “Cook has largely avoided a media blitz since taking the reins in Cupertino after Steve Jobs’ death in 2011. He participated in D: All Things Digital earlier this year, but so did his former boss.”

    The article implies that Steve Jobs participated in ATD this year. That would have been cool, but also disturbing.

  5. “. . . Apple’s handlers are putting him out there,” Ziegler reports. “

    So Ziegler is saying that Tim has “handlers” and that Tim does what they tell him to do? No need to read on, the guy obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Anybody who follows Apple knows that Tim is a very strong person. I’m sure he listens to advice, but I’m even more sure that he doesn’t have “handlers.”

  6. You guys keep on deluding yourselves. The answer to the headline question is this: desperation. While Steve will be forever the poster child of vision, brilliance, marketing genius, and stuff like that, Tim will be remembered, if at all, as when the music stopped.

    1. Desperation? That’s amusing. Apple is about to log a $50B quarter. Apple’s only “desperation” is in manufacturing products fast enough to keep up with demand.

      Here’s what Apple has done to keep the “dynasty” going for the LONG term… During most of the time after Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he AND Tim Cook (together) built Apple into the world’s most valuable and profitable company. Steve Jobs was the creative genius (and CEO) and Tim Cook was the operational genius (and #2). One created the designs and one made them reality. There would have been no iPad without Steve Jobs, but it would not have been a viable ($500) product without Tim Cook.

      Now, Steve Jobs is gone. But he had a key apprentice. So, now Tim Cook is the operational genius (and CEO) and Jony Ive is the creative genius. And the recent leadership changes make clear that this new duo will lead Apple for the foreseeable future.

      At some point, Tim Cook will retire. But he too will have a key apprentice. Then, Jony Ive will be the creative genius (and CEO) and there will be someone else who will be the operational genius.

      Obviously, there may be unexpected departures and leadership changes. But Apple has a very deep bench to draw from; they can keep this CREATE and EXECUTE formula going indefinitely.

        1. Again, you are focusing on one person as the reason for the success or failure of the organization. Microsoft’s ongoing failure is the result of a dysfunctional organization, not just Steve Ballmer. Apple’s continued success is the result Apple, not just the person with the CEO title. But with Apple growing into a huge and complex company right now, Apple (the organization) is VERY fortunate to have a recognized operations GENIUS in charge, with Jony Ive focusing Apple’s creativity like a laser.

          1. Oh, my bad. You are sooo correct in attributing Apple’s past and future success to 2 people.

            Apple’s continued growth will, like every other organization, bloat the bureaucracy. The only way to steer such an organization is with excellent training, discipline, and dedicated leadership at all levels …. not having some “Genius” in a corner office.

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