The curious case of Tim Cook, operations genius, and the missing iMacs

Bloomberg Contributing Editor Paul Kedrosky discusses the Apple iMac shipping delays on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”

Paul Kedrosky: This [iMac situation] is, at best puzzling, and, at worst, a condemnation of what’s happening inside the company because it speaks you both managing the supply chain, sure, but also just the straight up manufacturablity of their products. If you’re unable to manufacture products that you’re speccing, at the volumes that you anticipate selling, that suggests that your selling products that you haven’t gone though the right manufacturing validation for – and that goes directly to Tim Cook’s feet.

I think what’s happening is that the company is losing sight of manufacturability when builds product and you can say what;s probably happening is that Jony Ives [sic] is increasingly, you know, running the show; we’re getting some lovely, aesthetically-designed products, but there’s no tension on the other side saying, “Hey, wait a minute, Jony, this product; we’re going to have problems here, here, here, and here in terms of getting enough units of flat panels or memory or whatever else and so, as a result, the manufacture of these products is probably going to be poor and we’re going to have problems satisfying our customers which means that, they’re not just going to wait around for us, they’re going to go somewhere else.

MacDailyNews Take: Kedrosky doesn’t understand Mac users, that much is sure.

Paul Kedrosky: What I think you’re really seeing under the hood here, is sort of the , you know, usurping a great deal of the executive control at Apple by the design staff led by Jony Ives [sic] and, as a result, what Apple used to be good at, which was this tension between design and manufacturability, with manufacturability led by Cook, that’s gone. Now it’s: “Let’s build pretty stuff and maybe one day we can figure out how to ship it in volume” and it’s shareholders who are finding out the consequences of that.

Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: Does Kedrosky offer proof to back up his claims? Nope. Until we see some actual proof, this remains just a little fiction spun entirely in Kedrosky’s head. Apple screwed up with the iMac supply. Everyone knows it. Nobody knows why. This is because Apple insists on sitting there mum and, as they will hopefully someday finally figure out, in the absence of information, information will be created to fill the void.

Kedrosky is offering his explanation. He doesn’t understand the level of Mac users’ loyalty and he confuses iPhone users with Mac users, to boot. He doesn’t even know Jony Ive’s name; it’s “Ive,” not “Ives.” (Burl Ives, Jony Ive, m’kay, Paul?) Plus Kedrosky offers no proof that iPhone users went elsewhere during initial product shortages. In fact, all of the verifiable proof we have says otherwise:

• Apple tops Samsung, becomes largest mobile phone vendor in U.S. in Q4 2012 – February 1, 2013
Almost half of Verizon’s record iPhone sales were Apple iPhone 5 units – January 22, 2013
• Apple iPhone continues lead with 51.2% U.S. market share as Android users increasingly switch to iPhone – January 22, 2013
Apple iPhone takes 53.3% of U.S. smartphone sales, Android falls to 41.9% – January 7, 2013

In the end, however, Kedrosky cannot be blamed for weaving whatever fairy tale he wants to weave; it’s Apple’s institutionalized cone of silence that’s to blame for creating the information vacuum in the first place. In other words, just tell us that the friction-stir welding process (or whatever) ran into an unforeseen snag and that you’re working on the issue and hope to have iMacs in customers’ hands ASAP, Apple. It’s okay to simply admit and explain the issues to customers, Apple. We’ll understand. Really, we will.

With such a simple statement, none of this soap opera bovine excrement would be floating around out there.

Related article:
Paul Kedrosky on what’s gone wrong at Apple: Power balance has been altered – February 2, 2013

44 Comments

    1. Ordered THE OLD MODEL August 2012..Apple CANCELLED that order.. made us REORDER the new model… and we have NO DELIVERY DATE in sight.

      And yes.. im yelling.

      That’s totally f-ed up. Why couldnt they just ship the computers we asked for?

      1. I work in education. We are getting our iMacs. It seems there’s a 1 or 2 week delay, but they are coming in, both 21″ and 27″ models.

        I have a hard time believing you are waiting for your iMac since August. That sounds more like an HP wait time.

      2. Sent purchasing the original specs on August 8 2012.
        27 inch, 3.4GHzi7, 16GB RAM, default 1TB HD, AMD Radeon HD 6970 upgrade.

        never came.. then was supposed to ship Dec 28th. Keep in mind we ordered the previous model.. many weeks before they announced the new model.

        Never arrived. A week after the new iMacs were announced, purchasing called Apple asking where the Macs were.

        Apple apparently canceled the original order, and told us to reorder. Then we waited until we could actually configure and order the new iMacs. Once ordered, we were given a January 17th delivery date.

        They didnt arrive.. people called.. and now we have no ship date.

        The new iMac specs are 27inch, upgraded i7, base RAM, 1TB Fusion, and upgraded card.

        I know it’s hard to believe. It seem surreal to me since ive never had issues, and usually get things the day they are available.

  1. There are some obvious issues that are out of Tim cooks hands. Does anyone really think that he planned an iMac that would not be producible? Or that he is now just twirling his thumbs. Guaranteed there are heads rolling over this and jobs lost.

    1. @ the other Mike: as CEO and MDN-proclaimed “operations genius”, Cook has ultimate responsibility. There is no excuse for the multitude of stumbles Apple has made in the past 3 years.

  2. I never cease to be amazed at these type of articles. I look at a company like Boeing with their 787 three years behind schedule and currently grounded for battery fires and a P/E of 14.65 (AAPL 10.29). The media should trash this company if they used the same approach as they do for AAPL.

    1. CA, right there with you. Its the bloggers/writers. They feel that they can say anything about Apple, like they know what is going on inside.

      Sadly, they are so far out of the look that they just show their own incompetence.

      And to MacFreek, Being a fan of Apple does not mean ignoring the areas where they screw up, it means keeping a more open mind as to all the factors involved. And not trying to guess the future in a negative manner just to get blogg hits.

      Just a thought,
      en

    2. Well Boeing got what it deserved. They pushed out Alan Mulally who is now CEO of Ford, and what a marvelous job he has done at Ford in achieving global manufacturing.

      Contrast that to the way Boeing outsourced critical intellectual property to the four corners of the globe, in the, you know, great GE way. (jack Welch is a moron and a classic bully, he managed the earnings of GE when the rules allowed, and now roundly criticizes CEO’s for not doing it even though the rules disallow). I’d say Boeing got what they asked for. Immelt has been a failure at GE and for those great GE “managers” or “cheaters”, take a look at Bob Nardelli’s record.

  3. It’s obviously an issue with the new screen – either making the display itself or fixing it to the new frame. Both were highlighted as major innovations and sometimes scale up can be a bitch.

    As I have said many times before how many companies you know make high end precision electronics in the volume Apple is making? No one else is doing this. The build quality surpasses any thing else on the market and as a result ramping up production can be difficult.

  4. Apple should still be shipping older model along with the new model, as well …..

    To not be able to order one for your business is just silly …. We can’t wait four-six weeks at our business for a new machine …..

  5. Ordered my 27″ i7 Dec 27 and it finally arrived on Thursday. Beautiful machine and really fast. Of course I had to go out and buy a 3TB external USB3 drive for back up.

  6. It amazes me how MDN can talk out their USB hole and not know what they are talking about, mac customers are pissed. Just hang at a retail store at an iMac table and watch the responses when customers are told over and over to try tomorrow. You me editor need to get out into the real world and stop guzzling the koolaid. This is a big blunder mr. Cook is totally responsible for and mr Jonah should be slapped down for his heads too big for his and apples own good.

    1. It amazes me how Richard can’t imagine waiting for a product for a few weeks and would consider the option of buying a Windows machine instead. If someone is so ambivalent that they would get Windows instead, they are not Mac Users or are convert possibilities. What a bunch of marshmallow eaters.

  7. And the hits just keep on coming. Where’s that Monday rally we were promised? Hmmmm?

    Just when will MDN and the rest of the blind world of mindless Apple followers of doom get the message: until Tim Cook is dismissed, the company is going nowhere and getting it started up again gets harder with every passing day.

    1. Someone promised you a rally? And you believed them? Cripes, the anal ists are pulling their hair out all weekend long trying do get the stock below $450. I mean, it’s not dropping below $450. It’s just hovering there, around $450. It’s ruining the anal ist plans for the Valentine’s day massacre.

      Come on, roll up your sleeves and do some real investigative work. Find some dirt on Tim Cook. You of all people here seem to have the biggest vendetta against him. You talk about nothing else, you are obviously obsessed with getting rid of him. Are you hearing voices yet? Maybe you should stalk his place, along with some pavarotti and find out if he uses an illegal herbicide on his lawn. Come on, you know you can do it. Good luck. I’ll disavow everything.

  8. Kedrosky makes a great leap in stating that there is contention between Cook and Ive and that Ive is planning a takeover of Apple due to production demands. He gets paid to be a talking head that figures Apple is “kneecapping customers”? Who listens to such drivel?

  9. Here’s where MDN missed the boat in their comments….while *existing* Mac users certainly will wait and won’t “go elsewhere,” someone who had decided to switch from Windows will possibly give up waiting for iMac production to catch up and just get that new HP or Dell they were considering (vs the iMac)….God help them.

    That’s where this will result in lost Mac sales. Probably not a lot of them, but a few, anyway.

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