“It’s been a monumental few months for Apple, with the release of the iPhone X — the biggest redesign of Apple’s most important product since it launched in 2007 — plus the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, a new Apple Watch with cellular connectivity, a new Apple TV, new Macs, and the forthcoming HomePod ‘smart’ speaker,” Anita Balakrishnan writes for CNBC. “All of these products were hatched under the watch of Apple’s understated CEO, Tim Cook. But Cook, who took over in August 2011 after a couple of interim-CEO stints, has not inspired the same level of devotion as his predecessor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.”
“Jobs did bring Apple back from the brink of bankruptcy to turn it into the most valuable company in the world. But Cook’s job in some ways is harder,” Balakrishnan writes. “Jobs was starting almost from zero. Cook has to maintain Apple’s growth from an absolutely massive revenue and profit base, while answering critics who long for another world-changing product like the iPhone turned out to be.”
“So how’s he doing? Apple’s market capitalization — the value ascribed to a company by investors — has more than doubled under Cook’s tenure and is inching toward a trillion dollars this year, cementing Apple’s place as the world’s most valuable public company” Balakrishnan writes. “”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: By SteveJack
As always, the question is how much of this success is due to the momentum bequeathed by Steve Jobs (which any competent, or even semi-competent, caretaker CEO could ride) and how much is ascribable to Cook.
Post-Jobs, there have certainly been successes, Apple Watch, for one under-appreciated example, although we’ve heard that Steve Jobs most certainly did know about and expect Apple to make a smartwatch, and inexplicable misses (the myopic neglect of the profitable and successful Macintosh which, under Cook, ended its long quarterly string of outgrowing the Windows PC market and which is still struggling to regain its footing with professional Macs that professionals want to buy, for one example. For another: HomePod is an obvious follower move, a pure reaction to Amazon Echo, and hence an example of Apple’s lack of vision under Cook. Don’t get us wrong: It’ll be the best smart speaker on the market when it finally gets here and we’ll be buying multiple units for our homes and offices, but, like many things under Cook, it is late, as were iPhones with larger displays by two years at least – the nonexistence of which gave Samsung a huge, undeserved toehold into far too many smartphone users’ lives).
Cook is obviously an excellent CEO. The longer he is CEO the clearer it will become just how much of a “visionary” he is or is not. At this point, “The Vision Thing” may not matter. Apple may not need a visionary virtuoso like Steve Jobs as the company is so large and so rich, they can now afford to wait, holding their fingers to the wind, and then swoop in from behind and take over in new markets with stellar execution as they will very soon in the top end (read: profitable portion) of the smart speaker market. They may also eventually end up doing the same thing in the streaming box market where they were once the innovator and leader with Apple TV, under Jobs, and are now looking to come from way behind (by finally creating their own compelling exclusive content) where they’ve fallen under Cook.
Of course, it’s all hugely complicated by the fact that the transition happened the way it did. Jobs was taken way too soon. He left Cook with the albatross of building the massive Apple Park, a huge distraction that is still ongoing. Hopefully once the core of the company is moved in there and working, strange things like neglecting the Mac Pro for years will stop happening.
As always and regardless of who Apple’s CEO is, following Steve Jobs’ act is an impossible, generally thankless task (outside of the becoming fabulously rich aspect, of course).