4 ways Tim Cook has changed Apple as CEO

“When Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO on August 24, 2011, the company’s future was anything but certain,” Victor Luckerson writes for TIME Magazine. “The tech giant had become the most valuable company in the world just weeks before, thanks to a decade’s worth of wildly successful new products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad. The disruptive devices were credited almost exclusively to Jobs’ genius, and consumers as well as Wall Street analysts wondered whether Tim Cook, his soft-spoken successor, could guide Apple even higher.”

“Fast forward three years and Cook has proved his doubters wrong. This week, he got quite the anniversary gift when Apple’s stock reached an all-time high, largely because of strong recent earnings reports and anticipation of the iPhone 6, rumored to be announced this fall,” Luckerson writes. “Apple’s new share price high is a sign investors are buying into Cook’s vision for the companys’ future, which looks different from Jobs’s.”

Here’s a look at four ways Apple has changed during the Era of Cook:
• Only Cook Could Go to China
• Goosing Apple’s Stock Through Share Buybacks
• Diversifying Apple’s Core Products
• Increasing Apple’s Acquisitions and Partnerships

Much more in the full article here.

29 Comments

  1. The idiot Cook doomsayers like Jay Morrison and others here only continue to look like complete imbeciles in their belittling of Tim Cook, as if anyone else would do better. We can see at other companies who’s CEO’s fall all over themselves just how hard this job is and Apple financials continue to indicate a very successfully run company. Which will get an added bump this fall as the copiers and slackers continue to fall by the wayside of relevance.

    1. So according to the writer, Cook’s “positive” change revolves around:

      • Only Cook Could Go to China;
      • Goosing Apple’s Stock Through Share Buybacks;
      • Diversifying Apple’s Core Products;
      • Increasing Apple’s Acquisitions and Partnerships;

      What’s missing from the list is what really matters: INNOVATION. Instead of a new Apple TV/living room computer with high res screen, simple UI, Apps as channels, and games in an Apple TVesque App Store; instead of more innovation in iPad; instead of a larger screened iPhone and revamped iOS; instead of Retina across the board on all Apple portables and iMacs; instead of even new product categories; instead of design evolutions on MacBooks; and more…

      We get: corporate double-speak on share buybacks, stock splits, a mere paint job on iOS and OS X, Beats headphones acquisitions for billions of dollars and for what, and more.

      I’m not buying that Tim Cook… no… I’m not buying that Apple post-Jobs is ever going to be as good as it once was. This company is spending more and more on R&D and acquisitions and the pace of new products and innovation is at a standstill since Jobs passed away. Management at Apple has been riding on the coat-tails of Jobs since he got sick. A company that Jobs spent decades building. It’s not clear at all that the ship is sailing in the right direction.

      I am not saying Apple still can’t be very successful. Only time will tell.

      1. Go back and see Jobs accomplishments and the large amounts of time in between. I think Tim Cook is keeping every bit the pace Jobs did. Jobs too had the advantage of so many devices that had yet to be created or re-created for the market. How many paradigm busting devices are left to invent? Some of the next ones regarding health, cars, cloud, integrating iOS & OS X, games, ecosystem are all improving. Too many go on the presumption there needs to be a iTransporter invented one year and iWarp drive the next, flying iCars after, iRobot servants and so on. Even Steve Jobs presided mostly over incremental change with the occasional paradigm busting bomb.

        And btw Apple IS successful. Just look at what they have in the bank, are about to release and their market value as the world’s top company, tech or otherwise. It’s disingenuous to think otherwise.

        1. It was not an article whether or not Apple is successfull, we all know that, and they became successfull largely due to Steve Jobs.
          The article was depicting what Cook did, and as many others I must admit that Cook has focus on making sure the wheels have oil, not on new wheels.

          1. How can you know or be so sure of that? You presume much. It’s foolhardy to think you know what goes on behind the closed doors at Apple. Plenty of time and planning secretly went on during Jobs reign as well. As Derek says sometimes the technology has to catch up even if the R&D has been done. The iPhone technology was just possible when it came out in 2007. I hope those who play down Tim Cook’s CEO abilities stand as ready with the profuse apologies as they do with speculative criticism when proven wrong.

      2. ” a mere paint job on iOS and OS X, ”

        You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. The core OS, the frameworks, the development tools, the hardware, and the apps are all undergoing massive improvement efforts all the time.

        -jcr

    2. I was chatting with a friend last night who works at an Apple Store. We were talking about the bizarro questions people ask about ‘future’ products and all the rabid ‘analysis’ and rumor mongering going on. What I said is most interesting is to watch the Apple patents being approved. THAT is what’s indicative of what’s coming down the product pike. The patents clearly point out that:

      1) Apple innovation has NOT stopped. It’s instead going into new directions Steve Jobs et al. never imagined.

      2) Putting these future technologies into consumer devices remains a difficulty until other aspects of tech catch up.

      3) There is an amount of ‘Is It Good Enough’ going on at Apple, a hesitancy to bring out maybe Not Ready For Prime Time products. This is an inevitable effect of having a ghost floating over your head every day. It really is ‘What Would Steve Do’ syndrome.

      I can’t blame them for #3. But it does get in the way sometimes. Call the next product line another ‘Hobby’, like the Apple TV and don’t worry so much about how it is going to evolve. Give it a lower profit margin than usual and let it’s future play out in public, instead of behind the R&D doors. Stop locking up your daughters past the age of consent, etc.

    3. 4 Ways Tim Cook Has Changed Apple:

      1. The soap in the men’s bathrooms are now shaped like phallic symbols

      2. Lipstick and high heels have been added to the dress code for men

      3. You can hire anyone you like, as long as they’re white and gay (well endowed is desired however)

      4. Free employee gym memberships have been replaced by bath-house season passes

      1. Of all there is to focus on about the reign of Tim Cook over the most profitable company in the world, filling the largest CEO’s shoes of the modern era, and that’s what you come up with? It’ll be embarrassing to realize one day how much you’ve just told us about yourself.

      2. If Tim Cook is gay, does that mean Apple is headed for oblivion? The market does not show that. Indeed, looking at ALL other consumer industries, specifically fashion, has the gay factor proved deleterious? No. Apple IS fashion. Realise this, and stop wasting our time with idiotic comments.

  2. the great thing about Cook is that he is smart enough to realize he is not Steve Jobs.

    He probably knows he doesn’t have the design sensibilities of Jobs (who studied calligraphy etc) so he elevated Ive to head tastemaker at Apple coordinating everything.

    Jobs was a marketing genius, Cook an engineer by training hired various talented marketing people to VP positions and a A class marketeer Ahrendts to SVP. Not to mention Dr. Dre (whatever the critics say about Beats to rise to No.1 they had to have great marketing).

    Also as not the founder he didn’t have the intrinsic founder status to leadership so to keep the peace (if rumours are to be believed) he had to sacrifice some like Forstall (in my mind for all his faults he’s a genius, a father of OSX, iOS, app store etc) to keep the team going.
    Likewise again as not the founder he had to do various political moves with shareholders and politicians (they would never give him to leeway — shareholders like Icahn are sharks — as they would have given the Icon Jobs and Cook has successfully fended them off .)

    ETC.

    Meanwhile he also concentrates on his own massive strengths of efficient management , execution, alliance making etc .

    I think it’s unbelievably hard to run a giant corp like Apple (something like sales in 60 countries) which is No,1 in Supply Chain, No,1 in Design, No.1 in Retail, No.1 in OS software etc and even harder to follow an Edison like character like Jobs and Tim Cook has done better than probably anyone else could have.

    1. there were a few more things I wanted to write but space precluded it but reading some other stuff around about Tim’s ‘lack of innovative product’ etc I thought perhaps I’ll add a few more thoughts.

      My above post dealt with perhaps what is Tim’s DEFENSIVE moves (or ‘transition’ moves as he took over from jobs).
      I didn’t touch much on offense.

      Defence was important as too many people from analysts to predatory shareholders to tax crazed congressmen all sensing opportunity with Jobs passing were circling.
      Cook adroitly played the defence and because of this he could PROTECT HIS CREATIVES.

      The creatives, the product makers are the heart of Apple and Tim took all the flack (Congressional meetings, shareholder conferences) so that his creatives aren’t bothered and they could focus on their thing in peace. Jony Ive didn’t have to wake up one morning to find out shareholders want to cut his staff to ‘save money’ . (Look at Nokia, HP and see how the Board and big shareholders can wreck havoc with weak management). Ive , Federighi etc can work anywhere (companies will give anything for them) but they want to work for Cook because they they know Tim will take care of them.

      And because Ive etc have peace the products are going to be good and because the products are good Schiller, Ahrendts don’t have to worry about what they are selling, they just have to focus on marketing. It’s a circle.

      OFFENSE

      I agree with people who say look at the ‘time frame’. It was years between major breakthroughs under Jobs.

      But that said I think Apple has been innovating.
      Significant things like the A7 (64 bit) chip have been created by Apple. The techie people say it’s the chip that makes the fingerprint sensor work so flawlessly. (Samsung without the tech can’t get it’s fingerprint sensor to work well one year later). The other big breakthrough was the Mac Pro. So in the two big fields it competes in Mobile and PCs, Apple had the biggest innovations for 2013.

      But those things were only the most obvious and visible things, there were much more innovation in the background.

      Ask yourself in this day and age of Mobile, of Cloud, of Social Media — of always being connected what IS innovation? It’s more than the hardware now, it’s the system…

      I give you an analogy:
      Why is McDonalds the richest most successful fast food chain in the world? Hamburgers? No it’s innovation wasn’t in the hamburgers (we’ve seen boutique shops with fancier burgers) but in a MANAGEMENT SYSTEM : the original idea was to create a chain where you could depend on getting the same quality food everywhere in different cities (a main partner of McDonalds Ray Kroc was originally a travelling salesman and it was an important issue for him). So real innovation sometimes is not a ‘product’ but could be something else.

      I believe that the real innovation for upcoming tech is the ECO SYSTEM where you can tie all the stuff together and with Yosemite and iOS8 Apple holds the key (And no company can execute this as well as no other company controls everything, design, OS, Cloud etc).

      Breathlessly I’m awaiting a new ‘platform’ device from Apple (perhaps the iWatch) but new platforms take a long time to develop and I do believe even a new device will be secondary to real innovation (which apple has shown it has been working hard at) with is the Modern Eco System of Connected Everywhere. A new wearable device will just be a piece of it.

      Remember years ago , the analysts said PC innovation was ‘megahertz’ while Jobs said no , it was ‘connected’: the iMac (the ‘internet’ mac, floppy discs were out etc) and today once again the critics are looking at the wrong thing ( a piece of hardware) at where the puck WAS not where it’s going to be…

      Tim Cook i feel understands the future, he is in control and in his quiet calm manner he is masterminding it.

      1. Along your line, TC also devised a system that routinely produces millions of the most complex devices ever invented, each one to the same, exacting quality standard. That is no small feat, and a form of creativity in its own right.

        1. before calling people moron…
          perhaps you should check?

          Grammarist.com :

          “Defence and defense are different spellings of the same word. Defense is preferred in American English, and defence is preferred in all other main varieties of English, including Australian, British, and Canadian English. The spelling distinction extends to most derivatives of defence/defense, including defences/defenses and defenceless/defenseless. But the words defensive, defensiveness, and defensively have an s everywhere.”

          I’ve lived in Canada, USA and former British held territories so I’ve spelt it both ways.

          sometimes when you call others moron — and even try to be ‘clever’ with rhymes (!) — without knowing the facts you look like a class A fool.
          🙂

  3. I think Tim Cook has done a fine job despite all the naysayer’s objections and discontent. They say things like Tim Cook has to prove himself by putting out a new category of product. Seriously, does any CEO have to meet such a requirement to be a good CEO. To me, that would be more like icing on a cake if he can do something like that. Apple was the wealthiest publicly-owned company on the planet, lost quite a bit of value for a while and now it’s back again. Maybe a lot of critics think the company would never have lost value if not for Tim Cook. Who knows? I do know Apple still puts out good products and the company is still making plenty of money. I don’t know if he’d be considered a great CEO, but I’m sure he’s a good CEO. Probably as good if not better than most of them out there.

    There are just far too many losers out there saying Tim Cook doesn’t know what he’s doing or they think they can run Apple better than Tim Cook. That’s just ridiculous. It’s not easy running a successful company. Can Apple make more money by getting into more lines of business? I’m sure they can. However, I look at Apple at this moment and I honestly don’t see any major flaws in Apple’s business when compared to any other company around.

  4. What people miss is the size of Apple’s operations. For instance, Apple is building about 80,000,000 iPhones for delivery in the next four months. Mr. Cook’s achievement is building an organization that can make, sell and support unprecedented quantities of relatively ideal devices.

    Apple will need to make any device in a new category in enormous quantities. This is likely to make development slower.

  5. The jury is still out on Cook. I agree with the comment that said he is merely riding Jobs’ coattails. I don’t see the innovation. I do see a slowness to meet the market demands. And I see an emphasis on Cook’s pet projects which add nothing to the bottom line or the future of Apple.

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