Tim Cook’s doing fine, some Apple shareholders know nothing, but there are 3 things Cook needs to do

“There is a lot of chatter about Tim Cook these days,” Eric Jackson writes for TheStreet. “With each passing day, Apple seems to hit a new 52-week low. Yesterday, it gave up the spot of “world’s biggest company by market cap” to Exxon. You don’t have a steadily shrinking stock price without calls for the head of the CEO. I get that.”

“Yet, I struggle to understand what the critics are saying should be done by Tim Cook’s replacement,” Jackson writes. “What would they do if they were the CEO of Apple today?”

Jackson writes, “Succeeding Steve Jobs is a thankless job. Can you remember which NBC show succeeded Seinfeld on Thursday nights? Me neither.”

MacDailyNews Take: Is that supposed to instill hope in the hearts of the hopeless AAPL shareholders?

Jackson writes, “Be more of a showman? Isn’t this more of point one? Cook is who he is. He can get all the communications coaching he wants but he’ll never be Jobs. And even if he was, that was just one aspect of what made Jobs special.”

“By and large, I think Cook is doing all the important things right. Shareholders — and bloggers (who usually aren’t shareholders) — are wrong in their panting for the head of Tim Cook. Sometimes the hardest thing to do in investing is doing nothing. And waiting,” Jackson writes. “If you don’t like Tim Cook or Apple, sell your shares (or short your stock) and don’t use their products. I bought more Apple stock yesterday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook is the perfect man for this very difficult job. We can think of nobody better. There are only three issues we have with Cook so far:

• Marketing: Steve Jobs held a three-hour meeting every Wednesday afternoon with his top agency, marketing and communications people to approve each new commercial, print ad, web ad, and billboard. Does Tim Cook? If he does, does he have anything close to Jobs’ sensibilities in this area? Judging from Apple’s marketing since Steve left the building, he does not. Therefore, Cook needs to find a marketing guru to take Steve’s place, conduct these Wednesday meetings, and hold his marketing peoples’ feet to the fire until he/she is extremely satisfied.

• Presentations: Nowhere is it more obvious that Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs than on stage. Jony Ive needs to be convinced to take his passion live onto the stage. We saw him do it with extraordinary aplomb at Steve Jobs’ memorial. We see him do it in each new major product’s marketing video. Cook needs to cede the stage to the guy at Apple who is closest to having Steve’s vision, passion and presentation skills. Cook doesn’t strike us as having an overblown ego. He should step back. If Jony is reticent, he needs to be convinced. There is no rule that the CEO has to be the one presenting at Apple events. It is a total waste for Cook to keep trying so obviously hard to do something that is not his forte when Jony exists and is sitting right there backstage. We don’t hang on Cook’s every word (we just wonder why he’s overemphasizing some of them so much). We hung on Steve’s every word. We hang on Jony’s every word. It’s that simple. At the very least, have Tim MC the events, but make sure Jony is the one out there doing the reveals and gushing about the products. If Jony really loves Apple, and we’re sure he does, then he should demand the job. Step back, Tim, and focus on doing what you’re good at.

Operations: With his newfound extra time having Jony doing the events like he should be, Cook will have time to mentor and oversee his operations guy, Jeff Williams, and make sure nothing like the total fsckup that happened last quarter happens ever again. Apple is too big and too rich to screw up things like iMac availability for Christmas shopping season. This isn’t 1996. Steve Jobs would have gone on a spree with an axe. Tim Cook, operations genius, is ultimately responsible for Apple blowing some 800,000 iMac sales in fiscal Q113 (holiday quarter). (Hopefully, he blew them into this quarter.) If Apple had those iMacs ready like they should have, not two months late, then they would have handily beaten the street in all respects and we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

Fix these three things (the marketing issue being the most difficult as Steve was a genius) and, like we said, Tim Cook is the perfect man for the job.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
The curious case of Tim Cook, operations genius, and the missing iMacs – February 4, 2013
Apple pulls ‘Genius’ ad series from its website, YouTube channel – August 22, 2012

48 Comments

  1. Jony Ive would be no good at hosting events. He’s good on the videos because he knows what he’s talking about and it’s obviously prepared and they no doubt do them multiple times. This is not to say he couldn’t be move involved, but just replacing Cook with him wouldn’t make them any better overall.

    1. Jony Ive would be excellent at hosting or participating in Apple media events as evidenced by the links MacDailyNews provided in their Take, one of which was a live performance in front of thousands of people.

      1. Jony is a nice and passionate Apple employee because he really embraces the entire Apple existence. His design abilities and skills do not make him CEO material or Leading Visionary.

        I remain iOS is the most important part of APPLE for now and SCOTT was the man. New products and enriching users lives embedding iOS was why APPLE COMPUTER became APPLE INC.

    2. Steve practiced for hours and hours, often through the night. Every aspect of those events was carefully scripted and rehearsed multiple times and vetted through marketing and communications. While that helped Steve achieve what he was looking for it may be having a dulling effect on Tim’s performance.

      I think Apple ought to recreate how they introduce product. The old way was Steve’s way and he’s not here to do it anymore. Force-fitting other personalities into that model has never really worked and often cost exceptional managers their jobs because they didn’t look good on stage.

      1. Many companies are emulated Apples products, online stores and physical stores… they are even coping how Apple presentations look and feel.

        YES — Time for change.

  2. True… That is what this downturn is all about.
    A ‘Hostle Takeover’ by the greedy hedge funds who are not happy with Tim Cook refusal to give them ALL of Apple’s cash. They want to unseat Steve’s hand picked man and put in instead a more ‘friendly’ CEO- one who will bend to their will.
    We can’t let that happen!

  3. Well, MDN, you’ve only reiterated what others have said: Tim should be more like Steve. Steve’s own words to Tim were to not be him, but be his own person. Steve chose Tim to run the company, so if Tim is a failure, this failure belongs as much to Steve.

      1. Best MDN Take that I have read in a while – very reasonable. Cook’s job is to rejigger the management structure to make it healthier and more effective – to put the right people in the right places with the right responsibilities.

        I support Cook, but this is one area in which I feel justified in criticizing him. Cook is sticking too close to the SJ formula for Apple and trying to be SJ’s replacement in important areas (such as keynoting product releases) for which he is not well-suited.

        Apple can and must do better in marketing, product releases, and media control. Where is the old excitement that accompanied almost every Apple product release event (software or hardware)? And where are the commercials that made you think about being part of the Apple experience?

    1. No. Ballmer is an idiot who must have compromising photos of Bill Gates. It’s the only explanation left.

      MDN is correct that Apple’s ads (TV, especially) have suffered since we lost Steve Jobs. Nobody can replace Steve Jobs singlehandedly. Lucky for Apple, they don’t have to. They can cover aspects of Steve’s genius with individuals, precisely as MDN suggests.

  4. Here’s what’s wrong with MDN’s three things: They won’t do anything to move AAPL. Even if Tim did all three, AAPL remains a $300 stock. Eric Jackson is like everyone else who continues to defend Tim Cook – it’s wishful thinking. The hapless, clueless Mr. Cook IS THE PROBLEM. He must be replaced. Any other “solution” is a waste of time and resources that could be better used to launch a new era for the once great company.

      1. Totally right on. PP is most likely a troll for samsung, or 12 years old, …. or both. /s

        Magic solutions sound great but in this real world, they usually don’t work.

        JAT

    1. Here’s something for all those saying Cook should be replaced: SUGGEST SOMEONE.
      I think Ive is a genius, but I doubt he has the skills or desire to run the company beyond the design side of things.

  5. Even though I don’t know Tim Cook, so do most people and only top
    top executives and people around him does, I’ve seen him on TV
    interviews and heard/read him during earnings, conference call. Well, frankly my perceptions toward him as CEO isn’t that great.
    Sorry, for me Tim Cook is just an A- or B+ CEO.
    And for Jackson statement that if you don’t like Apple, sell your stock, Fu**Y** , I own AAPL even before Tim works there.

  6. It’s amazing how all these $100 billion dollar company CEOs are willing to help Tim Cook fix his mistakes at Apple.

    What? These helpers can’t even balance their family budget?

    Let Tim fix his own problems. He has had more experience running a hundred-billion dollar company than anyone on earth, with the possible exception of the CEO of Exxon.

  7. B.S. Its not the show. Its not about recreating Steve’s personality. Its about the products! The vision. The drive to force the ideas into reality. The future is not found in the existing products. Changing the world for the better requires thinking big and risking it all.

    1. No shit, Sherlock. Ive is the one who does this, he should be the one revealing them to the world. Tim Cook should concentrate on making the trains run on time.

    2. NotBill strikes the nail on the head.

      Apple’s position is difficult, since it has historically acted as the first-mover, relatively high-end manufacturer. And while hardware design and manufacturing standards haven’t slackened, Apple has lost its lead in some products performance/feature/innovation. What’s worse, Apple is not defending its iOS market share against the onslaught of knockoff competitors. Cook needs to use his pile o’ cash to start up the innovation engine again, roll out significantly improved software, and aggressively respond to cheaper competition. What the hell is he waiting for?

      1. AND… Cook has said again and again… we have SOME amazing products in the pipeline. ITs going to be a great year for APPLE.

        COOK said amazing NEW PRODUCTS but none have been RADICAL or mind BLOWING. He fails on his promises. Almost to the extent of misleading us all; a good reason why shareholders should be upset. Yet I have not lost FAITH in Apple.

        iPhone 5, iMac, iPad mini and fusion drive are all wonderful upgraded products. REFRESHED not NEW. All have been engineering wonders…
        not visionary. ALl have been Consistent and Safe.

        iTV might save Apple fans, but its not here still.
        iWatch is a silly venture… but we will see, my guess it will be a major Flop.

        Cook FAILS because he is PLAYING it SAFE. Forcing Scott out was a major mistake as iOS is Apples future – but seen as a defensive move to protect his rein.

        WHAT COOK NEEDED TO DO — WAS TO DESTROY ANDROID – FIRST.

        Instead, Apple went after Samsung not Google. He himself admits he did not wish to sue Samsung… but fails to target the source – Googles Android. Doing so, would have changed the entire playing field.

        – that would have forced Samsung to stop producing copied products mimicking Apples. It would have slowed down their profits and caused major damage on manufacturing and profits. It would have forced Samsung to seek a new OS. Instead, he has provided Samsung time and profits to make those changes.

        – by not attacking Google to the end, tells us all that perhaps Google has done no wrong.

        – and the failed court cases arising can appear that Samsung too has done no wrong also.

        Patents seem worthless… the faith seems weak.

        THATS WHAT COOK STILL NEEDS TO DO.
        DEFEND iOS and APPLES IP and UI.

        1. THE LAWYERS SEEM TO FAIL TO SEE that,
          iOS and iPHONE together MADE the PRODUCT that Apple created. The phone is nothing without the software.
          And vice-a-versa.

          Google made Android look and feel like iOS… and then built onto the areas where it could differentiate it from iOS. This opportunity should never have been allowed or tolerated.

          Pharmaceuticals have 5, 7 and 12 years protections for new innovations. Why not the tech-sector?

          The Google Phone and its OS was nothing like the iPHONE until iPHONE came to market.

          Android should look and function NOTHING like Apple.
          Hence, Samsung design also would not look ANYTHING like APPLE too.

  8. When Tim speaks off the cuff, as he did when answering questions at the shareholder meeting, he comes across much better than he does when giving a prepared talk.

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