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


  1. Don’t blame the iMac “disaster”- all the noise is still being made by phones and tablets. Several of my former favorite Mac techies are dabbling in the Dark Side- either out of boredom, or greed to reach bigger audiences. I’m talking about Pogue, Inhatko especially, even Steinberg and the cast of characters at Macworld. I personally have no desire to spend a month with an Android or Windows phone- certainly not a Chomebook. None of them are in the same league as an Apple product. I’ve read reviews, checked them out at Best Buy- to me, it’s a no-brainer and I don’t need artificial adrenaline to lie to me in order to feel more plugged in. I did that with Windows for credibility. What a crappy 4 years that was!

    1. There is nothing wrong with looking at what is out there- especially since Apple does not have the market cornered on original thought or innovation. Mac OS X was kind of wobbly on it’s legs in the public Beta and 1x iterations in device support, stability, speed and available software.

      As to bloggers and print journalists- they are in the eyeball sales business. Covering Android, Chrome and Surface gets more eyeballs and makes for better ad rates.

      Finally, how can one critique Apple stuff if you do not know what the competition offers?

  2. Apple is now worth less than 400B (overtaken by Exxon Mobile)..but ohh well sh**t happens, no big deal.

    I have always thought that Tim was the best CFO ever but not necessarily the best CEO tho I gladly stand corrected in the future.

    What Tim needs to do now is to get Wozzie back on the board…preferably as the chairman. Woz will boost confidence in the stock price just by being himself.

  3. The whole premise, that Tim Cook “owes” it to the current shareholders is a false premise. First, any AAPL stock purchased merely transferred $ and stock between two parties. Apple did not receive any of this capital, there is no “responsibility” to the capital provider, because Apple had nothing to do with this transaction. Second, proceeding directly from the first point, Cook nor any other Apple executive or employee has any input on when a party decides to buy AAPL stock on the open market. If someone decides to purchase AAPL stock at $700/shr and then gets upset that the stock doesn’t show a 25% annual gain, I’m at a loss as to understand how this is Cook’s responsibility. All the metrics of the business itself are outstanding. Cook should continue to focus on the business. Worrying about investor mania and where AAPL’s stock price is at any given moment? What a monumental waste of executive team’s time.

    1. dude you are clueless. Go study public company set ups.

      Cook has a LEGAL responsibility by Law to the current shareholders.
      Apple made a commitment to shareholders (past present and future) when they decided to go public years ago instead of being private.


      (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.

      Current shareholders elect the Board. Current Shareholders via the board can get the CEO fired . Funds own 70% of apple.
      Shareholders have removed the CEOs of Acer, Palm, Nokia, Rim (the founders), HP several times. And that’s just the tech companies.
      Do you remember what they did to Jobs-Sculley first time around?
      (shareholders can also bring lawsuits against the company and its management)

      I’m NOT saying removing cook or shareholder interfering with apple is good, but I’m just pointing out the reality of things which is missing from your post.

      (even removing the LEGAL obligations please note the fallacy of you logic . If current shareholders are not protected they would not have bought from the first investors: i.e the first investors won’t make big money … so NOBODY WOULD EVER INVEST IN STARTUPS like apple. that’s why its legally built in that companies take care of the interest of current shareholders)

      ALSO YOU SEEM TO FORGET APPLE EXECUTIVES ARE LARGELY PAID IN SHARES! the salaries are tiny fraction of their share bonuses.
      if the shares go down or have little chance of going up they will lose big. It’s said Cook has already lost tens of millions. One of the biggest problems with Silicon Valley tech companies is that the Best and Brightest only want to work in companies that they can make big money via shares, top executives quit or won’t sign on when their shares are dead. and the share bonues are commonly vested years into the future (i.e they will get them if they stay for certain number of years. So if the shares DROP…. ) (not being able to attract top talent because of dead share price was a big mircosoft problem for a decade — five years ago if you were just graduated software genius did you want to work for Facebook with a chance of becoming a multi millionaire via share growth or with Msft ? ).

      1. Shareholders have removed the CEOs of Acer, Palm, Nokia, Rim (the founders), HP several times. And that’s just the tech companies.

        Every single one of those companies are dead and or dying.

        I say the system doesn’t work. It’s all BS trite.

        1. regardless of your personal feelings about it I’m just telling you the reality of shareholders vs. Apple.

          I was writing in reply to roy above who is suggesting that Apple has no responsibility to current Shareholders (a myth being continuously pushed forward by the ignorant and those who do not own shares ) by showing apple’s own Board of Governance document.

          I’m not saying apple is at the point that the majority of the shareholders want to get rid of cook like Acer, Palm etc. Im pointing out they have the power if it ever gets to the point.

          Note also that most of the shareholders of Rim etc did not lose 100% (the max possible ) of their money before they made noise — if they lost 100% the company would be dead and no noise would have worked — when they lost 50, 60% they were already agitating to fire the CEOs and aapl shareholders have lost 40%. Big funds and their clients don’t care about ‘history’ about how aapl would have rewarded you if you invested in 1996 or whatever (what they care is the bottom line on their books now, or this year).

          still I believe most big shareholders are still going to give cook a lot more time (and also there doesn’t seem to be anyone else who can run the company better ).

          I’m not anti apple, I’m just telling you all the facts which like i said is sadly lacking in the anti shareholder comments prevalent on MDN.

      2. The operative phrase is “long term interests” not the short term interest represented by the fluctuations you are talking about that are represented by the price of the common stock. Maintaining a good, profitable product mix, sustaining margins, supporting the Apple brand, THESE are what that phrase refers to, not being an instant reactionary to short term (and we ARE talking events that have transpired in less than six months here!) aberrations that have NOTHING to do with management of the company.

  4. Steve Jobs cared a rat’s ass about the market. So what’s all this about controlling whom. To control the market, is to ignore them. I say, kill the dividends and be done with it.

    I think the stink is over the market thinking that there’s someone at Apple and on the board, who’s listening.

  5. from here in South Korea it’s been clear to me for some time that there is an orchestrated PR campaign to trash AAPL and get rid of Tim Cook, an agenda that both Wall Street and Apple’s major competitor can agree on. That effort extends even to MDN. Keep your heads on straight; don’t be pawns of Wall Street 🙂

  6. Well that was a load if crap…
    It’s funny with opinions. It’s also funny how all tech writers and analysts knows better what Apple has to do, than Apple.

  7. Great new products is all Apple has to worry about. When that stops, the stock will be in trouble. The 2012 insane stock price rise was driven by idiots in the market that were just as ridiculous as the ones helping drive it down now. If you look at the growth rate of the stock from early 2009 to early 2012, the stock isn’t far of from where it should be. Two years ago I guessed it would be at about $500-550 by now. It’s been about 3 years since the iPad intro, so a great new product is due in the near future. Given Apple’s record of introducing great new products every 3-4 years since the late 90s, and the growth those products brought about, there’s no reason to doubt that it can continue. The products are the key. The lame journalists for all the Wall St publications think Apple should be crapping out new market defining products every few months. It’s never happened and it never will.

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