Has Tim Cook become a liability at Apple?

“I fully recognize that, despite all the noise, Apple (AAPL) still dominates. I spend meaty chunks of my day expressing this opinion,” Rocco Pendola writes for TheStreet.

“But that reality means nothing to Wall Street, the financial media and public opinion,” Pendola writes. “Tim Cook has lost control of the conversation. Fair or unfair, it is what it is. Cook needs to reestablish control as soon as possible, assuming he ever had control in the first place and he’s capable of regaining it.”

Pendola writes, “As much as I subscribe to the notion that Tim Cook has a company to run, I also realize he has to play the game. He must, like Steve Jobs did, manage the stock price and public perception while making it appear as if he is not managing the stock price and public perception. Running a company like Apple is as much about participating in the theatre of rhetoric as it is running a company like Apple. If Cook cannot own the debate, he becomes a liability.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Friday:

If this continues, Tim Cook will quickly go from worrying that his seat is getting quite hot to how to keep his head off a stick.

When Tim Cook became Apple CEO on August 24, 2011, AAPL hit a day high of $378.96. AAPL currently stands at $430.53 [$423.63]. That’s a gain of $51.57 [$44.67] or 13.6% [11.8%]. If this thing dips below $400…

Steve Jobs had no leash; Tim Cook’s, while long, grows shorter as shareholders watch the red ink flow. (We get email: a growing number of AAPL shareholders are not happy.)

Apple shareholders should be patient. This swoon is not based on Apple’s fundamentals or performance (save for Cook & Co.’s total mishandling of the new iMac launch, causing Apple to largely miss the entire Christmas sales season and which, it bears mentioning, would have turned last quarter’s “miss” into a “beat,” hence AAPL would likely be closer to knocking on $800 than $400 today. It would have been nice for someone to ask Tim about that little fsck up during the recent shareholders’ meeting. We would’ve liked to hear his answer). That parenthetical item aside, Cook surely has a plan and has already run Apple for years, including for much of the time Steve was sick. No need to even begin thinking of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, yet.

So, patience, patience… but regardless: Cook & Co. need to up their game, not only PR-wise (staunching misguided speculation, blunting rampant fomenting, answering critics, producing better marketing, etc.), but in terms of releasing some meaningful products in a much more timely fashion. The quicker, the better.

Here’s to looking back on all this ASAP as a momentary (albeit nearly half a year now) blip from which many ultimately profited and not the precursor to a stock market crash.

Related articles:
Apple shares fall to lowest close since January 2012 – March 1, 2013
As Apple’s nears 40% collapse, a lesson in market psychology – March 1, 2013
The last 6 times Tim Cook has talked, Apple’s stock has dropped – March 1, 2013
Apple shares hit new 52-week low – March 1, 2013
Apple’s ‘disappointing’ quarter the most profitable quarter for a tech company in history – February 7, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘No technology company has ever reported these kinds of results’ – January 24, 2013
Apple’s all-time record quarterly earnings disappoint – January 23, 2013
After posting new all-time record revenue, Apple shares collapse in after-hours trading – January 23, 2013
Apple reports record results: $54.5 billion revenue, $13.1 billion profit, $13.81 EPS – January 23, 2013

71 Comments

    1. I’ve been saying all along, the guy is in over his head. He jumps when stock holders tell him what to do. When the NY Times tells him to jump he says “how high?” He’s busy running around being a nice guy to everyone and Apple is missing the clear product guidance it had under Steve Jobs.

      Cookiewuss may be supply chain genius, but simply not be CEO material, especially Apple CEO material. As MDN once said, Steve chose John Scully also.

      I’ve felt that one important thing missing is that no one is walking around and looking at people’s work and saying, “This is a piece of shit.” I don’t know of course, but I suspect Tim is very non-technical, a typical exec that needs someone to set up his computer.

      Apple needs an asshole with a good sense of quality to keep them on track. Not just a nice guy.

      1. I said it first. The Week Jobs pasted away.
        Cook is not suitable – keep him in the supply chain spot.
        He lacks the salesmanship and visionary qualities needed for Apple. And that, Scott is the only man for CEO. However, Cook stopped that from ever happening. iOS is the key ingredient for Apple success. iPad and iPhone rake in more than enough for Apple. The next Fck up will be Ives interface design… mark my words.

  1. What a bunch of friggin’ nonsense. I don’t care if the stock dips to below $200. Although, if it does, and if Apple doesn’t buy back every share it can, then I’ll be asking somebody to step down. This is all such manufactured noise.

    1. “I don’t care if the stock dips to below $200.”

      And how many shares do you currently own AND plan to hold during the cataclysm?

      Answer honestly.

      1. What difference does it make? You are a shareholder and not an investor. Investors are the first people who bought the stock. Apple got the money and they invested in Apple and Apple should care about them. You are just trading stocks. You have done nothing for Apple, why should they worry about you?

        It is like buying cars. If I buy a new Corvette from a car dealership they should take care of me. After a couple of years I sell you my used car (at a profit or loss).

        You hope it becomes a classic, but instead it rusts. All of a sudden you want a free paint job from the dealership.

        You invested nothing in Apple and only cared about yourself and your own speculations. All of a sudden Apple should do something to bail you out?

        You are typical Wall Street mentally. If you sold your Corvette at a profit, you’d cash the check, but if the car rusts to pieces, all of a sudden the Dealership better do something for you right away.

        Nobody told you to speculate on Apple stock, and they promised you nothing.

        If your stock goes up to $1000, how much to plan to give to Apple? Don’t tell you don’t care enough about Apple to give them some of your profits. Oh, but they should care about you! Any gain or loss is yours, and 100% your own speculation. Next you’ll want a Wall Street Bailout!

        1. Item No. 1 on APPLE’s
          Corporate Governance Guidelines:

          (I copy and paste):

          The Board oversees the Chief Executive Officer (the “CEO”) and other senior management in the
          competent and ethical operation of the Corporation on a day-to-day basis and assures that the longterm
          interests of the shareholders are being served.


          LONG TERM INTERESTS OF THE SHAREHOLDERS ARE BEING SERVED.

          the shareholders elect the Board which hires (and can fire) the CEO

          enough said?

          1. So what can he do if the Stock goes down. That is not under his control. It is under your control. Buy more, and keep buying more until you create demand.

            Running the business making the best products is doing his job making sure the long-term interests of the shareholders are being served. Making sure your speculations are being served is your responsibility. If you want the stock to go up, speculate some more and buy more. All you “losers” should have some guts and speculate some more and drive the price up by creating demand and buying more.

            –but no, you don’t want to take that risk, you probably want Apple to buy back their stock and create demand so you can sit and get all the rewards while Apple takes all the risk. Tim Cook has his own shares of Apple stock doesn’t he? He is already taking the interests of the shareholders into account isn’t he?

            Trust me I’ve lost tons of money in the Stock market, but I always accepted the responsibility for MY risks. this new version of Capitalism has to go. When I win it’s all mine, but when I lose somebody else’s head should roll.

            If you can’t take the heat get out of the Stock Market. If you want a guaranteed return, buy a CD !

            1. what are you talking about?

              i was posting the legal reality which you ignore in your first post in which you state the idea that apple should not care about current investors as they are not the original investors.

              I’m just pointing out you are wrong, that legally the biggest obligation of apple is to its current shareholders (that’s in their OWN board of governance document).

              I never speculated at all WHAT they can do about the falling stock price (although I have suggestions like perhaps do more PR to stop the B.S about ‘apple failing, lost innovation’ etc in the press e.g CNBC, CNN, NYTs etc . )

              I’m just stomping about the urban legend pandered on MDN forums that apple management can say “fuk the current shareholders”.

              look at my other post later in the forum for a longer explanation of shareholders.

            2. Truthfully I think all they can do is make great products. The Stock market will have to take care of itself. Most of the Market is manipulated anyway and there is nothing Tim can do about that. Whatever he does, it will be manipulated in another way. Wall Street is a game, and it’s their game to win just like the casinos.

              I believe that Tim Cook is doing the best he can to take care of making good products.

              I’ll tell you one thing. I have been a programmer on Wall Street for too many years. I’ve “invested” and won and lost (mostly lost). I’ve learned too much about Wall Street that I’ve come to the same conclusion as the Movie “War Games”.
              The only way to win is not to play at all.

              What does it say when a Wall Street programmer refuses to “invest”? The whole thing is rigged. Stop looking for Tim Cook to solve that problem.

              About 2 years ago I almost went against my “War Games” principles as I watched Apple go up and up. I almost bought and it was really hard not too, but I stuck to my principles. The only way I make money on Wall Street is by being a programmer. I see too much, and I advise everyone reading this to get out. You are being set up for a fall. Some may get lucky, but the rest of us are being taken for a ride and when the ride is over, the fall always comes.

              We all can see there is no reason for Apple Stock to be so low other than it was time for the people who rode you up, to cash in, and leave you with the fall. Just like the casinos, they are holding all the cards. There is no such thing as “investing” in the Stock market. Get out and don’t look back. Save your money and find ways to put the money to good use for society and help make the world a better place.

              All the money that we put in the Stock Market is money that is locked away from doing social good. It empowers the greediest people on Earth to do the most destructive things imaginable and you give them the money to enable and empower them. WE have the power to take all their money and power away and take back our society, all we have to do is SELL!

              We all love Apple but buying Apple stock doesn’t help Apple and it doesn’t help you either. Look around, do you like what you see? Use your power to create real change and resist your temptation for greed.

              If you can’t do that, than you are no different than they are.

  2. MDN take is like socks blowing in the wind. Everything about Apple is ok until the tide turns mightily against Apple. Apple has no stones. They let themselves get pummeled in the markets. doesn’t matter if it’s manipulative or not. 35% decrease in value and not a word in defense of the company. they’re going to need their cash reserve to build that giant donut in cupertino.

    To not defend your company against manipulators is just poor management. It’s March 1 and not the hint of where they’re going this year.

    The public is fickle.

    1. “To not defend your company against manipulators is just poor management. ”

      Bullshit. There is nothing that can be said that will change the tide. This is how Wall St works. It’s time people woke up to the fact that the value of a company and the services it provides are practically entirely disconnected from the value assigned to it by the speculators.

    2. tbone, would you place your money on Wall Street or would you place it in the hands of Apple?

      Wall Street is full of manipulators who’s conscious is of greed. Apple conscious is of inventing the coolest things out there and is fueled by the people that want them.

      Apple needs to buy back and go private. Wall Street has become a virtual circus full of clowns and tricks.

      1. I have said many times that I would be much more comfortable investing in Apple the company, rather than AAPL the casino game. We have been seeing a total disconnection between the performance of Apple and the performance of AAPL.

  3. The next time someone wants to understand what’s wrong with Apple’s stock price, reference this idiot Pendola and the idiotic MDN take. This is how stocks are manipulated , people. By innuendo, second guessing and flat out fabrications.

    The second Tim Cook or anyone at Apple makes any moves t0 soothe the fuffled feathers of the fucking retards on Wall St, you will know Apple is truly dead.

    1. If you were listening to the earnings report conference call, and watching AAPL trading, you would rethink your position. The stock was wavering after the numbers were announced but the share price didn’t plummet until Tim started talking. He did a terrible job of answering questions, his response to everything was condescending and unconcerned. The big managers got out. And if you’ve followed the share price, it’s plummeted every time Tim has opened his mouth publicly. If you don’t care about the share price that’s fine, but he is clearly a liability to it at present.

      1. That is only because Tim didn’t say what certain companies on wall street wanted to hear. What is supposed to do, lie?

        The big managers would not have come back into AAPL unless Tim surprised them with a +20% profit quarter.

        As publicly traded company, they are at a disadvantage against both outright manipulation and rumor, as they can not come out and bullsh*t the way the traders can. Unfortunatley, Tim is bound to keep to the facts.

        1. Did you listen to the conference call? He does not inspire confidence. He is not a cheerleader. It’s not about truth vs. lying. It’s about showing concern for missteps and that one has a plan for the future. He does none of that. He basically says, “Steve picked me. He gave ME $100 million NOT YOU. Now eff off.”

      2. “Condescending and unconcerned” is exactly how I want my CEO to treat these fucking corrupt ink swillers. If these shit-head anal-ysts and journalists were not corrupt manipulators then maybe I would agree with you. But being totally corrupt as they are, condescending and unconcerned is less than they deserve.

        1. But it’s the exact opposite of Steve. I think Tim is the anti-Steve. Remember how Steve handled antennagate? He created a huge baseball bat and beat the crap out of that BS. How would Tim handle it? He we say it’s not a problem, people love the phones, and the numbers are strong. AAPL would have lost another 5% of its market cap.

          1. How Steve handled antennaegate was the worst PR clusterf**k in Apple’s history. He told folk they were holding the phone wrong. He then went on to commission videos showing other phones being squeezed by a man on the verge of passing out with the effort, trying to prove that all phones were the same! Sorry, but aren’t Apple’s phones supposed to be better than everyone else’s?
            Seriously, the dysfunctional memories that folk demonstrate when they go on about Steve Jobs shows how bibles get written.

            1. Whether you, personally, enjoyed Steve’s antennagate press conference or not, it worked. It went from being all over the news to a non-story in that one moment. 60 to 0 in nothing flat. And the iPhone 4 continued being their best selling product ever, up to that point. By the way, I had that AT&T iPhone 4. I never had a problem with it. Best cell phone I ever had before the iPhone 5. Never dropped a call. It was a BS story from day one, in my experience.

  4. Tim Cook is not a liability. Apple is hugely successful, and in America, people attack you and question you and look for you to fall when you are hugely successful. Warren Buffet’s advice to manage well for the long term is spot on.

  5. Yes! Just ask the 50% of Americans he offended by endorsing same-sex marriage as a ccompany in a supreme court brief without any consideration for his customer base or opposing views within the company. Companies and celebrities playing politics, engaging in social re-engineering, and demonizing good, religious people who think marriage should stay as it has been since the beginning will pay a huge price at the expense of stockholders, fans and customers! Taxpayer benefits for institutionalized sodomy is not a winning strategy! Do u hear me, Tim Cook? Keep your politics out of Apple!!!!

    1. Keep those attitudes. Boycott companies who don’t share them. The tide has turned. And soon you will have very few options for anything you wish to purchase, food, clothing, smart phones…

  6. When Apple is this quiet about products, it’s almost always a VERY GOOD THING.

    Unless the company has really lost its direction and will to innovate (which I just don’t believe) I think it means they are hard at work on the next big thing (maybe television, maybe wearable computing) and Wall Street will have no choice but to respond.

    By the way, stay long. Wall Street is only beating this stock down because they know how high it will go. Some very “smart” people unloaded weeks or months ago and when it hits $399 it’s going to rocket up fast . . . that may likely coincide with a product announcement and there will be a lot of rich people getting richer.

    I base this entirely on watching this stock for a decade. Something big is about to hit.

    1. Great post, another optimist like me.

      “I base this entirely on watching this stock for a decade. Something big is about to hit.”

      It reminds me of the motto “Apple Leads Others Follow” and I suspect that what is happening to Apple right now will be happening to the other stocks soon enough. It also reminds of some dotcom bust or global financial crisis or depression or whatever when everyone else was letting staff go and Steve Jobs said that Apple was going to research and develop their way out of it, and of course they did.

      Apple the company is secretive, Apple the stock is volatile and Apple the jouranalists say that they are doomed for failure ever since I can remember seeing my first Mac, buying my first Mac and investing in Mac.

      I say kaching.

  7. I totally agree with MDN’s take. As an AAPL shareholder myself, the only thing I’ve been truly mad at Cook over is his handling of the iMac launch last fall, as that was truly a f-ing disaster in every way imaginable. As long as that egregious error is not duplicated anytime soon, I’m all on board with remaining patient for now.

    1. It is not only the FUBAR iMac update, which was just the latest in a long line of gaffes.

      Not only is Apple designing form over function, they are designing stuff that even their contract builders cannot make on a scale to suit the market.

      To whom it may concern @ Apple:
      Most of us don’t give a shit how thin the edge of an iMac is but wouldn’t mind it being a little more user serviceable or upgradeable. Most beyond the blogs do not give a shit if a laptop is 1/32nd of an inch thinner than a competitor if the thing burns your legs or cooks it’s own circuits.

      Tone down the PR hype and get back to making world class products that are worthy of the Apple logo.

      1. I think you are failing to think about the big picture. I didn’t say failing to see, cause only Apple knows where they are headed.

        You may not care about how thin the edge is, others may kvetch about the new position for an anodizing specialist, since its only about color.

        As Apple leads the way in new manufacturing processes and their many advantages, like the clarity of the display the new thin edge laminating , you will see the huge reveal and the big payoff in about 5 years.

        Then all of the stuff like liquid metal, thin edge laminate production, the new anodizing they are working on, and others we don’t even know about will play out in a huge way. HUGE like another groundbreaking, category shattering, OMG how did they do that product. The kind wallstreet says Apple must produce every 4-5 weeks if they want to survive against competition.

        It will promptly be misunderstood, panned by critics, condemned by Wallstreet, sell billions with 100’s of billions of revenue, record breaking profits all around, and the stock will still drop cause of this “last desperate grasp by Apple to remain relevant amidst the commanding marketshare and zero profit grasp of Android” in other words, business as usual.

  8. Nice $400 stock, like I have said for a very long time- much to the amusement of the $1,000/share pimps and fanbois back when it was $600-700/ share.

    We have $22 and change to go and people are not laughing or calling me delusional anymore.

    Until Apple gets it’s head out of it’s ass and shows a clear path out of the aimless drift and cannot shoot straight releases of late it will continue to languish. Tim Cook is an operations guy who can make the trains run on time- he is not a visionary or leader.

    1. You are correct except for one thing. He failed to make the train run on time at a very critical moment: The holiday launch of the most beautiful desktop computer ever made. That is when Tim became a liability. Most people can see that he fails as a visionary leader. Steve didn’t hire him for that. He hired him to make the trains run on time. When he failed at that also, he became a liability.

    2. Okay, I’ll bite: When the stock hits $400 what has changed in the products, the promotion or the growth opportunities in markets where Apple competes? If all of those forces acting on Apple’s growth opportunities are not related to the share price, how does an arbitrary stock price change anything? You won’t buy in at $422 because the opportunity for growth is $22 below some other stock where you are investing? I realize “agent provocateur” was probably chosen to be a thorn in the side of the way others think, but it’d be more impactful if there was some explanation for why Apple’s head will get out of the dark cavity and into the light just because the stock price hits a certain threshold.

      1. Apple’s assets- real and implied are worth $400. In the hands of a visionary with the chops to execute it can soar quite high. In the hands of a suit it can become Ballmer Era Microsoft with better styling and marketing.

    3. My, you are getting close indeed, and I said it would stop around $450 and hover there. Mind you I am not worried either way, I’ll save that for when it gets to the $300 mark, if it gets there. Now you might be right about it hitting $400. Don’t get the champagne out just yet, eyeing the bottle might cause you to lose your focus.

      1. I take no joy in seeing Apple stock decline in value.

        What I do no see from Apple is a coordinated view of what Apple wants to do and become. Apple also has been sloppy in the Quality Control of software and has trampled on many critical markets when making changes, such as the abrupt Final Cut changes (iMovie Pro Vista Edition).

        It has looked like amateur hour on many fronts for quite some time now. Not only that, Apple looks fat and lazy instead of lean and hungry. The smart, scrappy geek has become a snooty frat boy in his daddy’s Ferrari.

        1. Yes, I think many of us don’t really like what’s happening with the stock price. I had a model in my mind a few years around the first bout of cancer that Steve Jobs had and I said to myself that no one will fill his shoes and that the company will take a real kicking once he’s gone. Fortunately he survived that for a while, but I still think that the events we are seeing are still reminiscent of the loss of Steve Jobs. This sort of stuff takes time to get over, 5-10 years. I think that as long as the team and the DNA is strong Apple will survive.

          I expected and anticipated the missteps, after all it’s a big stress on any team that loses it’s leader, it’s captain. Right now for Apple to really, really survive is not dependent on Tim Cook, but for the entire Apple team to bring out the power to be their best, for themselves, and for the rest of the world. I wait to see what the Apple DNA can come up with out of that pipeline. Until then I respect their secrecy and darn tooting I will be patient to wait it out. It took years for Apple to step out of Microsoft’s shadow. It will probably take just as long to step out of Steve Jobs’ shadow if not longer.

          Meanwhile it does make a good opportunity to buy.

  9. Tim Cook is not the problem. Stupid anal-ists writing opinionated B.S. for there own personal gain is the problem. Then compounded by the media who publishes there worthless garbage spreading fact less non-sense everywhere.

  10. While I am reluctantly in favor of same-sex marriages, I can’t see why a company such as Apple needs to endorse this. If it is the law, then any company should live by it and certainly not discriminate its own workers when they stay inside the law.

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