Tim Cook’s defining moment as Apple CEO

“How Mr Cook and his team respond to the iPhone’s current crisis will reveal exactly what kind of business Apple is becoming as it approaches its 43rd birthday,” Tim Bradshaw writes for the Financial Times.

“Is the company that hired the former chiefs of Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent really a fashion brand, selling affordable luxury but subject to the whims of fickle consumers? Can it turn its services business — which generated $10.8bn in revenues in the past quarter — into a new engine of growth, in a transformation similar to the one that propelled Microsoft to supplant Apple as the world’s most valuable company?” Bradshaw asks. “Or is it just another hardware company such as Nokia or BlackBerry, as naysayers have long predicted?”

“‘This is going to be Tim Cook’s defining moment as CEO,’ said Michael Gartenberg, a former director of marketing at Apple who now works as an independent tech analyst. ‘It’s easy being Apple CEO when everything is going right and firing on all cylinders. This is the time we will see Tim Cook really be tested,'” Bradshaw writes. “Seven years into his tenure as chief executive, Mr Cook can claim several meaningful milestones, including briefly turning Apple into the first trillion-dollar company. But he has not succeeded in lessening Apple’s dependence on the iPhone — arguably reflecting a misplaced bet that the smartphone could generate even more revenues through higher prices, even as absolute volume growth slowed… Critics say the current line-up is both expensive and confusing, with too little differentiation between the $750 iPhone XR and $1,000 XS.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck, Tim!

And when your SVP of marketing is naming your most important products after “fast cars,” your SVP of Internet Software and Services is falling asleep in Siri meetings, and your Chief Design Officer (over whom you obviously have no control and who is totally unaccountable) seems more obsessed over Apple Park door handles than designing an Apple TV remote that actually works well for users – or, God forbid, a Mac Pro that actually works for professional Mac users and that isn’t FIVE+ YEARS OLD – you sure as hell are going to need all the luck you can get.

Old, tired, wildly-overpaid, far-too-comfortable blood with misplaced priorities kills companies.

SEE ALSO:
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$452 billion goes poof: Apple’s market value decline since peak easily exceeds the value of nearly any U.S. company – January 4, 2019
Wall Street analysts slash Apple target prices – January 3, 2019
Advisor to President Trump: Apple’s sales should pick up when U.S.-China strike trade deal – January 3, 2019
Two things Tim Cook just did that make Apple look guilty today – January 3, 2019
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Loup Ventures: We continue to expect AAPL to outperform the rest of FAANG in 2019 – January 3, 2019
Open thread: Does Apple need new leadership? – January 2, 2019
CEO Tim Cook on why Apple lowered first-quarter revenue forecasts – January 2, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook issues public letter to investors, lowers guidance – January 2, 2019
Apple’s newest Mac Pro turns five years old today – December 19, 2018
Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro, five years later – May 31, 2018
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Why can’t Apple keep their products up-to-date? – April 10, 2018
Why is it taking Apple so long to update the Mac Pro? – April 10, 2018
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Apple reiterates they’re working on an all-new modular, upgradeable Mac Pro and a high-end pro display – December 14, 2017
The culture at Apple changed when Tim Cook took over as CEO – April 10, 2017
Why Apple’s promise of a new ‘modular’ Mac Pro matters so much – April 6, 2017
Apple’s cheese grater Mac Pro was flexible, expandable, and powerful – imagine that – April 6, 2017
More about Apple’s Mac Pro – April 6, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
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Apple’s embarrassing Mac Pro mea culpa – April 4, 2017
Who’s going to buy a Mac Pro now? – April 4, 2017
Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up? – April 4, 2017
Apple sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro over the last 3+ years – namely, nothing – April 4, 2017
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Apple’s apparent antipathy towards the Mac prompts calls for macOS licensing – March 27, 2017
Why Apple’s new Mac Pro might never arrive – March 10, 2017
Dare we hold out hope for the Mac Pro? – March 1, 2017
Apple CEO Cook pledges support to pro users, says ‘we don’t like politics’ at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting – February 28, 2017
Yes, I just bought a ‘new’ Mac Pro (released on December 19, 2013 and never updated) – January 4, 2017
Attention, Tim Cook! Apple isn’t firing on all cylinders and you need to fix it – January 4, 2017
No, Apple, do not simplify, get better – December 23, 2016
Rare video shows Steve Jobs warning Apple to focus less on profits and more on great products – December 23, 2016
Marco Arment: Apple’s Mac Pro is ‘very likely dead’ – December 20, 2016
How Tim Cook’s Apple alienated Mac loyalists – December 20, 2016
Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016 – December 19, 2016
Apple’s software has been anything but ‘magical’ lately – December 19, 2016
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
Rush Limbaugh: Is Apple losing their edge? – December 9, 2016
AirPods: MIA for the holidays; delayed product damages Apple’s credibility, stokes customer frustration – December 9, 2016
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple’s disgracefully outdated, utterly mismanaged Mac lineup is killing sales – October 13, 2016
Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why users are complaining about Apple’s software – February 9, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

30 Comments

      1. Anything that gets the US job numbers double what analysts predicted and which ruffles feathers enough to where foreign leaders WANT to meet the US to discuss issues is a winner.

        1. Indeed.. yet look at the ignorance out there.. the wolf in sheep skin .. preaching bull and misinformation!
          Shooting themselves in their own foot in honor of their misguided dogma!!

        2. Workingpoors aside, do you think any American would accept to work for a Chinese wage?
          Constructing new plants and training skilled workers would be quite expensive. Are we willing to pay even more for our iPhones?

      2. As a German, I have some distance from which to observe:

        Trump deserves more credit than he gets (which is none from the majority of US media) for taking on the China trade imbalance that other U.S. Presidents left to fester. Hillary Clinton would have done nothing to fix the problem. Likely, she would have exacerbated it.

    1. The situation is ripe for Tim Cook to rid himself of old sacred cows, starting with Jony Ive. Eg, the era following Walt and Roy Disney deaths quickly became stagnant and required several house cleanings to get on track. Classic situation post founder/visionary. IMHO Cook has been hamstrung by remnants of Steve Jobs, it’s impossible to sustain when deputies egos run amuck.

  1. MDN boils down the issue and serves it up in a nutshell:

    “Old, tired, wildly-overpaid, far-too-comfortable blood with misplaced priorities kills companies.”

    1. I learned the lesson from a fellow manufacturer who was a big supplier to Sears 4 decades ago who had 80% of his business with Sears.

      There came a single day when Sears pulled out for another supplier and they lost 80% of their business and it was instant bankruptcy.

      Apple had BETTER find a way to produce other products people actually need (not want for psychological & social purposes.)

      Speaking of need, how about we start with home mesh networking, upgradable MacPro & a more upgradeable MacBook Pro.

      My future vapor ware item is a “mini-phone” that puts up images on my glasses so I can read some things w/o picking up the phone.

      1. Apple Watch could be game changer, if it could read blood pressure and blood sugar for diabetics. Then we’ll see AAPL sky rocket 🚀 to the 🌝, yes, to the moon.

        1. Not could be,. It us a game changer!
          To me .. The best product Apple makes with huge potential ahead …oh and that Apple pay on top !

          Then the new ipad pro!! Just fantasticly sweet! ( just give us a freaking CORE user manageable file/folder sys.. with consistent UI across the whole ecosys and open I/O!!!

      2. Then the comments in the revised guidance, on much healthier revenue distribution through most categories breaking records and being a more significant part of the whole, should delight u! ……Besides 84 billion still making for 2nd highest revenue quarter in Apple history !

  2. How quickly the Apple fanatics turn when their precious stock price takes a hit 🙂

    Seriously, some of us have been bitching about the lack of support for SE-class iPhones for quite some time now.

    On the plus side, the new Mac Mini is really a cool device. Even though it’s more expensive, it is a far better value than the previous generation.

    1. Dont underestimates the malicious games of the rivels and competition.. distorting reality through forums , misinformation and psychology!
      Playing with the minds of the ignorant and the naive!

  3. His real issue is the credibility. He has a problem in facing issues head-on without evasive answers. But that’s his born mentality, and no one can change it. I clearly remember back in early 2018 after the so-called a super-cycle of the X did not happen, and after the holiday season, the 8 was the best selling. But Cook kept telling the press that the X was selling “thru the roof”. Since then, I never trusted him. They had the declining iPhone sales even before the launch of the X, so they were desperate in hyping the X. Anyway, enough is enough and I will digress…

    1. Pardon me, u and likes of u smoking something Again ! ?
      Credibilty? ..
      Apple has grown 5 fold under TIM’S leadership. From 50 to 250 billion in revenue while maintaining margins..( if u dont understand the significance of that, i seriously doubt u can even fathom what it takes to run a lemonade stand ! )

      Also
      The revised guidance 84 billion (-7% due to china and iphone) makes for the 2nd higest revenue quarter in Apple history ! 2nd !

      And the revinue distribution in the revised guidance is much much healthier than it has ever been….with other products and service breaking records and having a bigger effect on the overall.

      What are likes of you up to here..
      Distorting reality to nth degree and holding a straight face,
      Very suspect.

      The stats and facts i mentioned are his defining moments.. and they are stellar ! By any standard..
      Except for those high on blind, indoctrinated Steve worship (the cult)…..And the competition/rivals! ..who are doing their best to manipulate reality and minds of the ignorant lemmings!

      1. You know, the pot has been legalized in Canada lately.
        And the Haloween has passed too.

        There has been a huge boom in smartphone biz and everybody rode on it. In Apple, Tim & Co. has been riding on Steve Jobs’ coattail. But when it has reached the plateau, the wild party is over and the real capability of the management would be tested. Firstly, enough was said here on the $1T company being so dependent on a finicky single consumer gadget. It’s incredible. Other lines of products have long been neglected. Some components needed to form a real walled garden have been dropped one by one. It was once suggested that Apple should have separated the phone biz to a separate entity to prevent other products from getting dragged into a disaster like this and go down with it. The current management has been enjoying nice cozy parties for too long and they became complacent and inept. What you say the “facts” weren’t really facts in many cases. The only facts came from those in the street and buy Apple products. When they were alienated, the party was over and time to regroup and get serious. That’s what’s happening. It is now 100% clear that Tim had a different idea in managing a large corporation. Well, most everybody here is saying so, and I have to agree with them, analysts or not. The investment community has a totally different agenda in order to manipulate the so-called “facts” to see if they could help to make more money.

        1. Facts i presented here and elsewhere.. many many of them ! All are facts .. not beliefs.. not conjecture, not what ifs !….
          Not wishfull utopic delusional distorted rhetoric!

          His record, by any business standard, is stellar!

          Unfortunately world is filled with ignorant lemmings!

          1. Did you present the facts? Where are they? Or are they just speculation, conjecture, misinformation or misinterpretation? If all your facts were indeed the facts, things we are observing now would not and should not have happened. Something is amiss somewhere. But here is the ultimate facts. In the consumer market, ultimate decision is in the hand of consumers, not so-called analysts or hi-powered investment house or certainly not common pundits. I’ll tell you the ULTIMATE fact. For the sake of the arguments, if and when zero consumer buys any consumer products of a company, that company is dead in the water regardless of the macroeconomy, China, or Trump, you name it, They no longer matter. That’s the real bottom line and by getting greedy and kept raising the price, consumers (buyers) spoke with their wallets and Apple finally realized the bottom line, regardless of so many red herring they are trying to drop.
            Empire struck back.

      2. Steve as you know was the founder of Apple and HIS second coming made him the greatest CEO in company history. This has nothing to do with apologist opinions and certainly not indoctrination or cult worship. It’s called historical facts that constantly ALLUDE “ignorant lemmings” …

      3. Yjimbo, I have, over the last few years posted a similar sentiment. The fact is only one person in the history of the world has presided over a company of this value, only one person has presided over a company that has generated this level of income…..a level of INCOME that if it were market cap would make it one of the 50 largest market caps in the world. For people to imply that Apple is not “operating” is absurd. Is there room for improvement, absolutely, which could mean that Apples best days are still yet to come……..

        Running a $250billion dollar multi national business is a lot harder than it looks and virtually impossible for all but maybe 250 people in the world. Almost every company on earth wishes it had Apple’s problems.

  4. Two points, somewhat at odds with one another.

    First, if the Chinese economy weren’t deteriorating and Apple hit its guidance, people would be singing Tim Cook’s praises. There would be zero calls for his head and zero talk of existential iPhone issues. iPhone sales are growing everywhere else. The macro factor is beyond his control and he shouldn’t be blamed for it.

    Second, there is a lot for which he can be blamed:
    a. He should have announced that Apple wouldn’t be reporting iPhone unit sales with a year’s heads-up, to get analysts used to the idea and show them alternative, better measures of the company’s health and how iPhone unit sales fail those measures.
    b. Get a new God-damned cinema display out there. You’re leaving money on the table with pro users and others, and you have ugly black plastic LG displays contaminating the aesthetic of the Apple stores, and, presumably, the new spaceship. I wrote ten Apple executives a thoughtful letter on how this was about more than cinema displays, but about the overall Apple brand experience. I Fedexed all ten letters. I got no response. I wrote again. I got one form letter back. So, not only are you failing on the cinema display, you’re failing with customer care.
    c. Introduce a state-of-the-art wifi mesh system so that I’m not taken back in time ten years dealing with Verizon and their horrible routers. Again, this is about the Apple brand experience — holistic, total solutions that make life easier, not more difficult for customers. Steve Jobs understood that.
    d. Stop posting iPhone full purchase prices on the Apple website and stores. Post monthly payments only and sell all of the iPhones on a pay-over-time basis, unless the customer specifically requests otherwise. We all buy and pay for lots of products and services — Netflix, for example — that way. If Netflix charged us $399 for a three-year subscription, it would affect adoption. I’ve never understood, since 2007, why Apple would force consumers to look at the full cost of their phones when carriers always articulated pricing to them on a monthly payment basis. This change would be huge.
    e. Advertise Apple Pencil. The thing is a miracle and no one knows about it.
    f. Return to the hard-working product differentiation advertising exemplified by, “I’m a Mac”/”I’m a PC.” Stop with the self-aggrandizing image creative and start showing consumers, methodically, consistently and persistently why they should switch to the Apple ecosystem.
    g. Update the iMac every year the way Steve Jobs did. Create consumer desire. Every year, we waited with baited-breath to see what the new iMac would look like.
    h. Start introducing some of the products on stage yourself. Don’t leave it all to lieutenants. It looks like you have no personal passion for the product. Whatever the most important product is, you should be up there introducing it.

    This is a partial list.

  5. We have an overpaid bonehead and his boneheaded lieutenants running the show THINKING they know best when they don’t know squat. NEGLIGENT maintaining apps and making them best of class. UN-VISIONARY and letting others get ahead in areas they should now own. DESIGN CLUELESS with the Mac Pro ending up with The Homer design in 2013 instead, thoughtlessly innovating themselves into a hole and a direction no one asked for by not asking pros what they truly need. Paying the price for their hubris, a price pros also paid with unforgivably delayed corrections to their stupidity.

    For those criticizing the knives coming out I suggest you take a hike as we are at an inflection point where Apple leadership needs to step up and stop making the same mistakes. They have earned our enmity. I used to be an unquestioning fanboy but no longer as they have betrayed our trust. Some of us have been with Apple since the beginning, seen the evolving story and corporate actions and know better when something is truly rotten in Denmark/Cupertino.

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