Steve Jobs stepped down from being Apple’s CEO on August 25, 2011, and Tim Cook replaced him. It would be impossible to fill Jobs shoes, but I think Cook has done a very good job (no pun intended) while some analysts and pundits say he should be replaced since the company hasn’t had a new product as successful as the iPhone or done any large acquisitions.
I believe when you look at the numbers and think through the challenges of integrating large companies (which many times wind up creating less value than what the acquiring company paid for them) Apple has a better approach by buying small, technology oriented firms that can be more easily integrated into Apple.
Its product strategy of coming out with a few very good products or services that it grows over time takes longer than buying a large revenue stream. While investors may not “reward” a company or view it as “sexy” with this tactic, it is also less risky from multiple aspects and probably does better over the long-term.
[Critics] seem to ignore some new products that are generating tens of billions of revenue every year… While the Apple Watch and AirPods don’t account for all the revenue in the company’s “Wearables, Home and Accessories” category, they probably made up the bulk of the $18 billion that was generated in the first three quarters of this fiscal year. It was fiscal 2010; the third full year the iPhone was available that it reached the same revenue level, which is about the size of a Fortune 150 company such as McDonald’s or Broadcom…
Building a Services business isn’t nearly as sexy as launching a hardware product that takes the world by storm, but growing one from a few billion dollars per year in revenue to the size of a Fortune 63 company (Cisco is #64 with $49 billion in revenue) is quite an achievement.
MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook is in the unenviable position of following an act that’s impossible to follow.
As our own SteveJack wrote nearly two years ago:
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).