After 5 years as Apple CEO, Tim Cook scores C-

“How exactly has Tim Cook fared in the five years since he has been the CEO of the world’s most profitable and valuable company?” Jay Somaney writes for Forbes. “Let’s start off with the most obvious criteria that CEO’s should be judged on which is the performance of the shares under his stewardship. On August 24, 2011, Apple shares closed at around $54 per share, adjusted for the stock split and dividends. Yesterday, the shares closed at $108.85 per share. At first look, one would think that was an outstanding performance considering shares have slightly more than doubled. However, the Nasdaq was trading at 2468, the day Tim Cook took over as CEO of Apple. The technology heavy index closed last night at 5260. So in the five years that Cook has been CEO of the company, the Nasdaq is up around 113% and Apple has returned 102%.”

“I am not even starting to compare Apple’s returns in the five-year period since Tim Cook took over as CEO with the companies run by Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of mega capitalization tech land names, which make Apple’s returns look pretty pathetic,” Somaney writes. “In the hedge fund world that would be called not meeting one’s benchmarks and most hedge fund managers would be hard pressed to make the case for the annual performance fees from their investors. However, Tim Cook has made roughly $500 million or so in the five years despite lagging even the Nasdaq index. Only in corporate America does one get rewarded like a king for less than mediocre performance, no? So, as far as return to shareholders is concerned, I would give Tim Cook a C at best… Tim Cook’s overall grade for the first five years would be a C minus at best.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tough grader from a real glass-half-empty kind of guy. During his first full fiscal year as Apple CEO, a 12-month period that ended September 29, 2012, Apple generated more than $156.5 billion in revenue and a $41.7 billion profit. During Apple’s last full fiscal year, Apple’s revenue hit $233.7 billion and company profits surged to $53.4 billion. In the last year, Apple under Cook generated more money than Procter & Gamble is worth and took in enough profit to buy Sony with $10 billion left over.

Earlier today, we gave Cook a solid B+ for his first five years.

Rating Tim Cook’s first five years as Apple CEO – August 24, 2016
Apple CEO Cook has remained faithful to Steve Jobs’ legacy – now, can he transcend it? – August 23, 2016
Jim Cramer: Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘gets very little credit’ – August 23, 2016
Tim Cook: Five years as Apple’s CEO – August 22, 2016
Woz on Tim Cook’s first 5 years as Apple CEO: ‘I am very happy with the way Apple is going’ – August 19, 2016


  1. Say what you want about him but this doesn’t seem to remotely factor in the fact that the market has always been disproportionately upbeat on companies like Amazon and convinced Apple was doomed even when Jobs was alive.

      1. “babbling incoherent mental defective”
        You can’t argue against other commenters’ observations so time and again you resort to childish name calling. Yes, Mac did too, but he’s right on with most points whereas you’re just ranting.

        Lazy: We can only conclude that Cook is lazy because of the state of the Mac and other devices. There’s not one single Apple product I’d spend a dime on right now, first time in 20 years.
        Go ahead, click on Macs and Other tabs too.
        Not one thing in Apple’s lineup is a ‘Buy’ and Cook had zero updates for the back to school market.

        Greedy: Instead of plowing money back into product development Cook hides it in foreign banks and buys trash like Beats and some Chinese thing called ‘Didi’. O_o

        Incompetent. What competent CEO would allow almost his ENTIRE product line to stagnate, and let patently obvious issues to remain unanswered and unresolved for years on end?

        Distracted. Cook is more worried about his (very selective) social justice crusades than his customer’s happiness.
        Media professional? Go F yourself.
        1970s Hollywood type wants her name pronounced right? Oooh, let’s jump right on that.
        “Human (gay) rights”? Yes, let’s focus on that.
        Chinese people under the yolk of a communist dictatorship? Errm…

        Arrogant. Jobs was arrogant because he was that good. Cook’s arrogance is undeserved. He’s a numbers guy that inherited a steamroller. The momentum Jobs left Cook with has all but evaporated.

        Foolish. See Incompetent. He may be intelligent but he is seemingly blind.

        Chicken*. That is indefensible. I may not agree with Cook’s politics or whatever, but that’s no reason to stoop to idiotic ‘peterblood’ style pejoratives.

        Listen, I don’t care about Apple’s cash hoard, or Chinese rideshare companies, I care that the company that I supported and cheered on for two decades is now in the hands of a visionless numbers guy.
        The days of me saving up my pocket money for the latest Apple must-have toy are over. And yes, I’m miffed.

          1. petrblod: Every single time I come to this site there you are, fighting the good fight against all the fools who refuse to kiss Cook’s ring.
            (Yuk, that does not conjure up a pleasant mental image…)
            That makes you the troll.

            Mac: Hey thanks! We may be saddled with Cook for a while, but he’s not any worse than any of the other limousine liberals in Silicon Valley.
            I just long for the days when leftists just did pot.

            1. It is important for good folks like PB and yourself to not lose attention and drink the Cook cool-aid.

              I’ve been using Apple products since the beginning of time, but unfortunately, I don’t feel the same Apple magic anymore.

              One example as many others have pointed out, we should not be subjected to this 🤐 to replace this. 🔫

              This is a misdirected distraction from the core of Apple business. Injecting PC partisan politics into Apple business discussion is also something I find disconcerting.

              Holding my breath until September announcements, particularly interested in the MacPro and other Mac lines and don’t care so much for obsessing over fashionable watch bands.

              Cook may have lost his way, we’ll know in a month … 🎲🎲

            2. You obviously have not spent enough time here to know the difference between someone who is critical of Tim Cook (I have no problem with that) and someone who is repetitious, juvenile, derogatory, brings up irrelevant gay notions that anyone who supports Cook is gay and the infantile like befitting of a 10 year old getting his puberty jollies. That would be Mac. This is not how adults carry on a civil conversation. He does not add to the conversation in an intelligent way, just the way Internet social misfits and trolls do. Do I suffer fools like these. FUCK NO!!

              You would have to be a complete ignorant imbecile yourself to support such childish prattle. Know the difference between intelligent debate and idiots like Mac and his fellow spewing trolls, intent on the very lowest base type of conversations befitting of a stated mental growth. Speaks volume if you approve of his type, if in fact you aren’t actually Mac yourself or maybe any number of the mindless trolls who hide behind their anonymity here.

              I don’t mind critical posts with well reasoned arguments, just ones from a poisoned sick minds contributing nothing but dripping vitriol to the conversation.

              THINK before YOU post, and choose wisely who you support.Good luck if you side with online mob mentality miscreants and juvenile malcontents.

        1. Hmmm, “babbling & incoherent” as well as “rambling” seems to apply well to you as well. Obviously you don’t pay much attention to what goes on on this site nor are privy what is going on at Apple. As they say opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. (And opinions like Mac’s clearly have been blown out his posterior region.) We shall see in the very near future what Tim Cook hath wrought. I have already let my own dissatisfactions with the Mac Pro be known.

  2. The main negative of Tim Cook has been viewing Apple as his personal political megaphone from which he bellows leftist tripe which alienates much of the world and many potential customers. Steve Jobs, who personally held liberal view as we are all free to do, was never so stupid and so irresponsible with the power of the leadership of the worlds largest public company.

    1. Give one–just one–example of “leftist political tripe that is alienating much of the world” that does not involve support for well-established American legal requirements like privacy and equal protection. (So offending Saudi Arabia by supporting minorities, women, and LGBTs doesn’t count.)

      1. One example – easy. Declaring the sovereign state of North Carolina evil because the legislators there want men to use the mens rooms and women to use the women’s rooms. Are you always so incredibly stupid?

        1. That isn’t all–or even mostly–that the North Carolina law did. It was primarily an effort by rural Carolinians to prevent urban Carolinians from enforcing ANY anti-discrimination rules within their cities’ jurisdiction. The bathroom thing was just PR cover for a much broader effort to deny the uppity folk equal legal protection with straight white men.

          1. Wrong. It was exactly as I described. Yet Tim Cook took it upon himself to pit Apple against a state and the law the elected representatives passed. He has never done the same against the hundreds of sanctuary cities that declare themselves safe ground for anyone who violates our immigration laws. You and Tim are liberal sleaze.

        2. So…

          You are in favor of forcing a person who has had complete sex change surgery transforming that person biologically from a man to a woman two dozen years ago and has been taking hormone therapy for longer than that — and for all appearances (facial and body and clothing) to be a woman — to use the men’s room where quite likely that person would be exposed — at the very least — to extreme ridicule and quite possibly physical harm for a “woman” using the men’s room. All because that person’s birth certificate states that the person was borne male?

          That is your preference? Force a 45 year old person who is biologically a woman and has been living as such since the person was 21 years old to use the men’s room just because a document says the person is male?

          Can’t you see how extreme that law is?

  3. Based on sales and money only in the company’s coffers Tim Cook gets an A+. Based on some Mac upgrade issues and the 2013 Mac Pro misfire and some other small snuggling issues he gets a B-, maybe C+. All of which could be swept away back up to A in one majorly corrected upgrade cycle. It’s not nice to let Macs, Apple’s first cash cow after the Apple II & IIe, languish.

      1. Like what else? iPads and iPhones are getting steady improvements. Don’t tell me you expect major redesigns for portable devices every iteration! Puh-leeze!! Macs are the main area of neglect and Mac Pro’s in particular. iPods are iPods. Since people are mostly using their phones for music too these days I don’t expect major innovation in iPods. Just being able to play music. Software ain’t bad except in a few areas perhaps. Unless you also expect iOS to look and function differently. There’s something to be said for the familiar. People are loathe to deal with new learning curves.

        1. iPods – Apple killed the Classic without upping memory on the Touch. Nano and Shuffle are both overdue for memory increase or more improvements. iPods are beginning to feel dated and slow compared to iPhone user interface.

          Mac laptops – product range is a complete mess, overpriced, user-unfriendly upgradeability getting worse, and Apple needs to bring back the 17″ MBP

          Mac desktops – every one is stale and overpriced. Huge holes in the lineup for a mid-range tower and for a flagship workstation. Trashcan has been a sales disaster.

          Servers – needed more than ever internally at Apple!

          Software – too many issues to list. Just look at the reviews on Apple’s own stores. Is Apple truly incapable of fixing iTunes or supporting professionals?

          Apple TV – late, technically inferior, overpriced, and not a pleasure to use. Definitely not living up to potential

          Displays – Apple botched this whole market through its own complacency.

          Airport & Time Capsule — more than ever people rely on wireless networking, but Apple hasn’t made any improvements. Time Capsule remains crippled, undersized, and too slow to recommend. Huge squandered opportunity to make this product range be the real center of the smart home.

          Watch — primarily a fashion accessory, definitely no mainstream appeal.

          iPhone — still no cohesive 3-size family with current tech. Rumors abound that Apple is going to fuck up the audio port. Clearly the focus of Cook’s attention, because it comes in pink

          iPad — can’t believe Apple is dumb enough to call the big one a “pro”. Totally mismarketed and basically validating Microsoft’s Surface strategy. iOS simply doesn’t have the capability nor the software to compete against complete PCs or Macs. Never will. Stop trying to force it, Apple.

          Services — Maps was horrible, only slowly improving. iCloud is only good for non-critical stuff. Siri isn’t getting much smarter. Music remains an ugly bloat to iTunes and certainly not good for many users. Apple never seems to learn.

          Distractions — Apple seems to have more than enough money and time to waste on Beats, rearranging the deck chairs at the Store, decorating circular offices, holding political fundraisers, chumming it up with sports and media stars, playing with cars, taking out Wall Street loans to buy back its own stock … but just can’t keep the product development moving. Emerging tech like VR and smart home tech, Apple is conspicuously absent.

          Bottom line: in the tech world, if you can’t keep your products fresh, then you are a laggard. Apple is coming dangerously close to becoming a laggard across many of its product ranges.

    1. Peter, you could also have said the same thing of Sculley back in 1991. It was several years after Jobs left. Apple was making more money than ever. Some were calling Sculley the greatest tech CEO ever.

      Then just two years later it was clear that Apple had begun its decline. Sculley resigned, and now many people refer to him as quite possibly the very worst tech CEO ever.

      When talking about a tech company’s future, money is only part of the equation — often a very small part, as history has shown.

      1. I’m familiar with the history. The problem here is to be fair who knows what’s going on behind closed doors at Apple knowing it takes years of development for new products AND who has a time machine (Marty!) who can travel to and come back from 5-6 years in the future and tell us how it all worked out. Many of the posting loons on this site seem to think they already know.

  4. Tim Cook has been running Apple for 7 years despite having the title only 5 years.

    When Apple takes over the living room and the car they will be singing his praises.

    1. “When Apple takes over” today sounds very similar to “When Microsoft takes over” in 1999.

      Can you explain why you feel the user would experience any difference of corporate gorilla throwing its weight around?

    1. I would agree with that. Let’s see a chart showing how much Steve gave back to shareholders. From what I can recall, he didn’t give back crap. There were no stock buy backs or dividends under Steve, he kept it all.

      1. No, Jobs did not keep it all. He plowed the money into product development and delivered a long string of hit products. He also lay the foundation for one of the most prosperous retail store chains in the world. Cook is the one playing games with Wall Street and hoarding money overseas instead of putting it to use improving products.

      2. Investors got their money back from Jobs. It came in stock price increase and awesome ground-breaking products. Not all return on investment has to be distributed as a dividend, you know.

  5. Isn’t it funny how the so-called “law of large numbers” IS quoted when they say “Apple can’t grow”, but it IS NOT quoted when Apple turns out to grow slightly slower than the average of companies that are smaller by at least one order of magnitude…
    I agree with MDN’s B+.

  6. Okay, let’s compare apples to apples for a second. (Pun a happy coincidence.)

    How does Apple stack up to, say, Dell in the PC market? A+
    How about Samsung in the smart phone market? A+
    MacOS vs. Windoze? Still superior, and making good progress in market share. A+
    iOS vs. Android? Superior, and not stolen. A+
    Apple vs. FBI, IRS, and all comers concerning security. Let’s not even go there. Nobody else is even trying to play the game at the level Apple does. A+
    AppleWatch vs. stupid Gear. I had a buddy just yesterday complaining about all of the things on his Gear rearranging when he crossed his arms. I suggested he needed a real product that at least knew the difference between deliberate manipulation and accidental touches.
    Real comparisons to “compeitors” are available all over the place, and Apple is better than a B in all of them.

    The only comparison that can realistically be made from those other mega-comapnies mentioned in the article is Google, and their Android isn’t making them their money – the info they steal from their users with Android is what is making them their money, and through an OS that was stolen lock, stock, and barrel from Apple.

  7. A reflection on just two of the points in the article.

    On hiring. Look, anyone can make a mistake. Tim’s a data guy, Browett appeared also to be one. They seemed to have much in common. But when it became clear that Browett wasn’t a fit, Tim didn’t try to make it work, didn’t fiddle around, he moved, quickly, decisively. That’s not C/D management, that’s A management.

    Similarly with Scott Forestall. Scott was a star under Steve. He’d been there for a long time. And yet when it became clear that he wasn’t a fit, Tim moved quickly, decisively, forcefully. That’s A management.

    As far as Angela Arendts goes, well, just because she doesn’t appear on stage doesn’t mean she’s not doing anything. That’s just wrong. My guess? Based on Tim’s performance in other circumstances, she’s doing exactly what Tim wants and better. Otherwise, she too would be gone.

    And as for acquisitions, the real question is not how has the Beats acquisition turned out (I’d say long term, not too badly) but how have all of the various acquisitions that Apple has made turned out. And it seems to me that on a dollar spent per dollar of value added, my take is that Apple under Tim Cook has done really well. The jury is still out on Beats but if streaming and all of the various other things that Apple has done to move from a hardware-based model to a services-based model pan out, Beats, which was the start of that, will look pretty good. And so far, it looks like Apple is well on its way.

    And as for all of the hundreds of little acquisitions goes, I think the value added to Apple from each is pretty clear.

    1. Except that Apple Stores are a mess. Overcrowding is common, some (like in Austin) have absurdly long waits for appointments.
      AA is not doing her job, but Cook does nothing, and that’s A management? Hardly.
      Ands how is Eddy Cue even still working at Apple??

      Any monkey could buy a fantastically successful company and leave it alone, to continue being successful.
      That is NOT ‘A’ management.

      1. The Apple Stores are a complete failure: nobody goes there because they are so crowded /s Try the Microsoft Store about a block from Apple Domain Austin. No crowds or waiting there!

  8. The problem, which all those whiners who lambast Cook don’t seem to acknowledge, is that Steve Jobs was unique. There currently isn’t anyone with experience of running a company the size of Apple who could ever live up to his achievements whilst meeting investor expectations.

    Cook is currently the only person who could do the Apple CEO job. Think about that whilst you’re busy calling for him to go.

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