The culture at Apple changed when Tim Cook took over as CEO

“It’s daunting to think about the number of products Apple has created that have transformed how most people use technology: the original Mac with the first mass-produced mouse, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad,” Laura Sydell reports for NPR. “But fast forward to 2017 and it appears that a lot of innovation is coming from other companies. Both Apple fans and analysts who follow the company are beginning to wonder whether Apple has lost its mojo. All those innovations happened when Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, was running the company. And some former employees say a cultural shift occurred at Apple after Jobs died in 2011.”

“One of those former employees is Bob Burrough, a software engineer and a manager who worked on the team that helped create the iPhone. He says under Jobs, every employee was encouraged to take personal responsibility for improving the products,” Sydell reports. “But he argues the culture at Apple changed when Tim Cook took over as CEO. Burrough says employees were getting the message to look down and do their jobs. Burrough says, when he saw something wrong, ‘the way that I was expected to deal with it was shut my mouth and do my job, and take care of whatever my assigned responsibility was and (not) worry about what anybody else is doing.'”

‘Bryson Gardner has similar memories. He worked at Apple for nearly a decade and was one of the team leaders for iPod and iPhone development. And Gardner says Jobs liked debate about how to make products better — and his style was to listen and then make a decision,” Sydell reports. “Cook is a more traditional CEO, Gardner says, and doesn’t like people arguing — instead typically bringing together top managers and building consensus rather than letting them debate it out until he makes a decision.”

“A lot of people are rooting for the company, including former employees Burrough and Gardner,” Sydell reports. “‘Like many other customers, I would like them to make more things,’ Gardner says. ‘It would be great to have something else people lined up around the block for’ besides the iPhone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Half a decade after Steve Jobs’ death, people are beginning to see the results of the lack of a charismatic, focused leader.

You cannot go from Steve Jobs to someone who “doesn’t like people arguing” and not effect a profound culture change.

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59 Comments

  1. The morale of the “doers” at Apple must be devastated…the thing about “doers” is that they will just go somewhere else to “do.”

    damned shame this once great company is allowing itself to be gutted by a social justice warrior bean counter.

    1. Not only that, but Tim Cook is untouchable because he’s gay.

      It doesn’t get more leftist than The People’s Republic of California and rampant, insidious “political correctness” will not allow for the ouster of a gay CEO. Period.

      Apple will suffer for years if Cook decides to stay, coercing malleable employees to be annual Gay Pride parade marchers, and slowly killing Steve Jobs’ Apple.

      Steve actually made the riskiest possible choice, because he must have known that if Cook couldn’t cut it, his removal would be next to impossible because he’s the award-winning poster boy for gay CEOs. Maybe he was too sick to think that far ahead.

      Steve Jobs had two shots at picking a CEO to run Apple the way he wanted it run and he blew it both times.

      1. Too much brutal truth for some to handle, it seems. But what you say is, of course, brutally true.

        Unless Cook decides to leave for the good of Apple on his own, Apple is stuck with “The World’s Most Famous Gay CEO” and is therefore looking at many years of malaise.

        Luckily, Jobs built such an unstoppable machine, Apple can ride iPhone and iPad for so many years as to even outlast Pipeline Timmy, the misguided SJW.

      2. So California and one being gay are the reasons Apple is going downhill?
        Such a crock of sh!t you are. Clearly, it’s because he sucks as a CEO as stated in the article because (again stated in the article) he is a traditional CEO (unlike Steve Jobs), does not encourage debate by employees and experts who are designing Apple products, and Cook is not innovating enough like Jobs (and among other things).
        Stop bringing politics into this making your statements unrelevant.
        Gay or not gay, conservative or liberal, activist or non-activist, he just sucks as a leader and will never match Jobs’s skills and charisma.
        “People Republic of California”? FYI/ California is an innovating state that contributes to the economy due to the contribution of biotechnology, agriculture, computer science, medical science, and the list just goes on and on. Probably better than your poe-down state. Go back to your trailer and keep thinking your stupid thoughts.

        1. And trust me, when sales go to a minimum low, he will be ousted by the stockholders or Board members; the state or politically correctness will have nothing to do with it. It’s called “business as usual”

          1. Calb, A healthy and vital company make such decisions waaay before sales drop. A beast of a company like Apple has such inertia that it takes a long time for bad practices to result in diminished sales.

        2. Dear Fucking Moron,

          I deal only in Brutal Truth. Nowhere did I say being in California and/or being gay are the reasons why Tim Cook is a poor CEO for Apple.

          Those who can read understood this the first time:

          Being gay in politically correct California is the reason why Tim Cook won’t be removed. Having him on the BoD won’t help matters either.

          If and when Cook starts feeling the heat, you just watch how many covers of Out and The Advocate he magically appears on – not to mention TIME, The New York Times, etc. focused on him being a prominent gay CEO.

          Sincerely,

          Brutal Truth

        3. I don’t think @Regular Reader is stating that Tim, being gay is a problem or a bad thing. What he is stating is, because Tim is gay, it is harder to remove him as CEO, even if his performance is terrible. I don’t care about anyone’s sexual preferences or gender identify, I want people to be who they truly are and love who they truly want. That said, we shouldn’t be required to keep a poor CEO just to avoid political fallout. I am sad Apple, lost their way. The Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Johnny Ive, team was a great mix. Take away the leader, Steve, and it all crumbled. Here’s to hoping things get back on track. For now, I’ve moved to Android, Outlook.com, Amazon Music, and a Surface Pro 4.

          1. And Brutal Truth and Regular Reader are both wrong. Cook is not “protected” as CEO because he is gay. Rather, it is regularly used against him by his detractors. The Apple BoD will oust Cook if/when they feel that it is necessary, and his sexual preferences will not be a consideration. That is the way that it should be, and that is the way that it will be. To suggest otherwise is asinine, but all too common on this forum. And *that* is the brutal truth.

            1. ‘Asinine’?
              You mean the foul-mouthed worthless whingeing malcontents who couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery but who run Fortune 500 companies in their basements?
              Yeah…asinine.

        4. He didn’t say  was going downhill because they have a gay CEO. He said he can not be removed because he is gay.
          Maybe you should read comments a few times before you reply.

        5. We all know Jobs was a very narcissistic person and I wonder if he chose Tim Cook because he knew he would run Apple into the ground. Maybe a way for Job to be regretted for ever

    2. My feeling is it’s more the personality type. If Tim doesn’t like dissension and the stresses of being CEO, which might involve lively employee debate on direction and making choices from that, he shouldn’t have taken the job. (Not doing this seems like a way to avoid making lonely decisions.)

      This whole Mac Pro debacle comes from the head on down being clueless to basics like asking pros about their needs and taking care to do that and not assuming steadfast loyalty regardless of what misguided direction Apple goes. Instead of blindly alienating their core pro market by their ignorance, apathy and neglect. And then revisiting that space often to seeing they are doing all they can and updating whenever possible in a timely fashion. DELIGHTING THEIR CUSTOMERS, instead of people wondering if their commitment is wavering and other choices must be made. That’s major incompetent negligence!

      Anyway the Timid Tim has to go, either as a personality trait or the person himself. Apple needs aggressive, taut and assured leadership. Not a namby-pamby technophobic.

      And a gay CEO status is irrelevant and should be shit-canned or not on one basis just like everyone else – is he or she doing the job? Equality also means being held responsible for one’s own level of competence.

    3. I’ve been saying this for years and you fanboys and MDN have constantly argued against me and stood by Tim Cook. Now you guys are finally realizing he is a politically correct, loser imposter that has no business running Apple.

      The only thing he has going is his resting bitch face.

      Remove him now.

      1. Sorry but you were way too premature and Johnny-come-early knee jerk about Tim Only time has born the issues out for all to see. So you get ZERO credit. Tim was given a honeymoon period but the honeymoon’s over.

  2. just release a Mac Pro, a iMac, a Mac Mini, a MacBook and a MacBook Pro with the FASTEST Intel processor and AMD or NVIDIA graphics processors available. Then come out and say “Apple is committed to releasing a desktop and a laptop with the fastest Intel processor within 90 days of their release for the NEXT FIVE years”.

    Is that SO HARD? Jesus Chrysler.

    1. Why give Apple 90 days? Much smaller companies start shipping products within weeks (and sometimes within a day or two) of Intel, AMD, or Nvidia announcing full production quantities of a given CPU/GPU. Apple certainly has as close a tie to the prototypes of these chips as any smaller company. Apple certainly has the wherewithal to design boards around the final specs and test them with the prototype chips and boards.

      The reason they don’t? The bean counters and the bottom line. Every once in a while the specs need to be changed at the last minute. Every once in a while the final, production run chips are different from the pre production chips. This means wasted development time and effort with commensurate redesign efforts after the changes are known. It’s not *that* often, but it happens.

      The bean counter’s way around this potential lost cost of effort? Wait until the final, production chips are shipping before Apple finalizes *any* designs. This makes Apple have a delay of six months to a year after everyone is shipping products before Apple ships a product when (even accounting for last minute design changes) Apple *could* ship products within 30 days or so from a new chip from Intel, AMD, or Nvidia is in full production.

      This approach saves Apple money and enhances the bottom line, but it keeps Apple from having any truly cutting edge products in Macs or anything else dependent upon outside chips.

  3. Doesn’t like arguing (even though Steve built buildings that caused people to argue in spaces).

    Doesn’t have charisma.
    Doesn’t have any Vision.

    Are you getting it yet MDN.

    No Talk, No Taste, No Vision.
    Are you getting it yet?
    No Talk, No Taste, No Vision.
    ….and we are going to call it iSkully.

  4. The first thing I noticed was the quality went down significantly. Especially on the software side. Updates nowadays are just as likely to cause more damage that anything else. Simple, sleek, intuitive software immediately disappeared under Cooks leadership. Moving Jony Ive to software design was a major mistake. iTunes is now a klugie chrome plated turd, but the important this is it looks good aesthetically beautiful.

    Tim Cook is turning out to be the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft.

  5. Let’s not forget that Tim Cook was a Steve Jobs hire and Steve made the decision to leave Cook in charge. Differing personalities or management styles aside, that’s enough of an endorsement for me.

  6. Innovation is an overused word. I think Apple are dropping the ball by not keeping the specs of their Macs cutting edge – especially at the higher end. Yes the iPhone may the biggest money maker but Macs are what people who make apps and content use, Apple should be supporting the Mac for those people alone, that there is a dedicated consumer base of all different levels is icing on the cake. I don’t think it’s just Tim Cook, Apple under Steve Jobs made some slightly odd decisions as to what was updated when, and at the consumer level I can certainly see that spec improvements are not offering the radical benefits they once did (my five year old iMac is still great for day to day tasks), but Apple have so much money they can afford to not lose money but perhaps do things that don’t have the straightforward dollar benefits that releasing a new iphone does because of the larger benefits that come from them (i.e. people stay with Apple because of the entire eco-system). That Apple haven’t been updating all their hardware has made the lack of new products all the more noticeable.

    1. There were “blunders” when Steve was at the helm, but history shows well enough that innovation was part of Steve’s Apple. Now, under Tim’s Apple, iteration comes into question, say nothing of innovation. The Mac Pro is the most impactful “stuck in cement” example, but there are many others that aren’t described by merely speeds/feeds.

  7. The real problem is that Tim Cook can’t (not won’t, but that’s probably true too) make the decision. He can’t foresee what is the next big thing. It’s not in his genes. Extremely few people have that (Jobs likely better than anyone else in the past century). Cook does not have it.

    Cook relies on his team talking it out very civilly. They debate pros and cons and the effect on the bottom line in the next quarter or at most the next four quarters. They don’t really give a damn about changing the world if it means rising the bottom line. Apple has become IBM of the late 70s or Microsoft of the turn of the century or Lockheed Martin for the past 20+ years.

    Apple needs to be willing to make mistakes (hockey puck mouse, cube Mac, Apple ///, etc.) then admit the mistake and move on – and not take 3 1/2 years to do it! To paraphrase a concept from the book Starship Troopers (the BOOK, not those horrible movies), “You can’t fix a mistake you haven’t made.” In other words, make a damn decision and move forward! If it’s wrong, admit it and fix it! Then move on. But keep moving on. Stagnation will kill you. In the computer world, moving forward very slowly is equivalent to stagnation.

    Apple is no longer the Apple of 1976 – 1984 or Apple of 1998 – 2009.

    If Apple does not get back to that, I would not be surprised to see a second set of dark days start in the next four or five years. Once upon a time Microsoft was considered 100% invincible. Microsoft could never fall from its lofty perch. The same was thought of Apple in 1991. History repeatedly has shown that any company can fall if it does not keep moving forward.

    1. If Cook does badly for Apple, how come the board does not remove him?. Does he has power to remain at Apple?. Who has power in Apple after all?. Cook or the board?.

      Alright, Cook is gay, that is his personal life, what happened in his bedroom, none of anyone business. The same as whatever happen in your guys bedrooms, would you like people poking their noses to it?.

      1. Timid Cook’s sexual orientation is none of our business, and it does not bother me at all. What does bother me is he seems to have a difficulty to contain within himself but use Apple as a platform to convey his social messages. Well, a lot of companies do that too, climate change and green etc, which are quite noble and totally fine. Those will even get respect. BUT LGBT, or gay issue? It’s a bit different, particularly when the person who is saying it has his own issue.

      2. And this particular issue is highlighted when Apple lost its once admired romanticism, and became a greedy $ seeker. Soldering RAMs, denying customers’ ability to improve performance? Those are more important issues that LBGT one, coming out of Apple’s loud speaker.

    1. Hmm looks like people overwhelmingly are giving you the same level of deserved “respect.” BWAHAHAHA!! Maybe you should start calling yourself “facileman”?

  8. I’ve been with Apple since the Mac and I’m telling you all the future is not looking good for Apple. Innovation and leadership are gone. Free thinking is stymied under Cook. Just look at the present condition of the Mac and iPad. Apple is first and foremost a computer company. Under Cook’s leadership it has forgotten the Mac. I am looking at other computers for the first time ever and I’m not happy about any of it.

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