Defending Tim Cook: Why Apple remains in good hands

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  • Reply 41 of 75
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,396member
    launfall said:
    The article is correct about Tim not being Steve.  Jobs was a megalomaniacal genius who was wrong as often as he was right.  He misread the market so many times, but that is forgiven by the number of times he read it correctly. But he was a leader.
    I am one of the Apple-watchers-buyers-stockholders who believe that the one thing Tim lacks is control over a company that is expected to be a market leader and frankly no longer is. Is it profitable? You bet it is! But it is profitable in spite of some of the stupidest blunders imaginable. Most recently: the battery throttling is the result of a continued hubris left over from Steve that Tim should long ago have extricated. Divulging new products months before they are ready to launch has repeatedly allowed competitors who are already in the market, to get a jump on Apple. And then to miss the target date is a mistake that lays directly at Tim's feet. Apple is big enough and has a diverse enough customer base to stay at the top of the tech market and any area, but instead appears to only be able to work on one product at a time. So many of Apple's products languish for years without an update that it is embarrassing. Mac Pro, Mini, AppleTV, all sit around gathering dust without updates for so long that they descend into technological mediocrity and infuriate customers who would be happy to spend the money for a quality refresh. Apple frequently releases products that are way behind the curve of what is currently available, then over prices them, then ignores them for years.

    Apple's current stock price should be 50% higher than it is, and would be if Tim Cook got his act together and either actually led the company, or stepped aside to let someone else do the job. Lead, follow, or step aside. There is money to be made in gaming desktops and laptops (they are not dissimilar to pro machines), but Apple is so far behind that curve no serious gamer even looks at Apple. Apple's half-assed response to the connected-home industry, AI, professional software and hardware are ample testimony to a lack of leadership under Tim. Others are setting the bar higher than Apple seems capable of reaching, and by the time it gets close, the bar's already moved higher. Perception is often the key to profitability, and the market's belief that Apple is the technology star is no longer embedded in either the consumer's or market analyst's mind. And that's going to be Tim's legacy.

    And one final point: get Jony Ive out of the business.  He has long since forgotten that form FOLLOWS function. A Mac Pro that looks like an air purifier? No one asked for that, Jony. It is NOT what the pro market wanted or needed. And the sales sucked as a result. And five years later the response is an iMac?
    My biggest problems with Cook is that he has under-invested in several areas:
    1.  Siri.  - Maybe they have a chance with the new hire.
    2.  Neglected Computers - Mac Pro and Mac Mini. (When developers inside Apple are building Mackintoshes - you know its bad).
    3.  Too many software areas like education that get neglected and then Apple wakes up a couple years late and says we need to do something.
    4.   Display technology.   The have to pay what Samsung wants because they have put enough , early enough into display technology
    5.   Why is Eddy Cue still there.

    Only the BOD knows how much of a money pit TITAN is/was.

    And of course.   Who is Cook's heir apparent.    It would be nice if he or she was a creator or developer.  And ideally someone from within Apple who knows and cares about their products (not just the Earnings).   This is important because it can be very dangerous if the Board of Directorship to bring someone in to the company from outside. 

    Cook will probably stay put for a while because by now he's been able to pick enough board members who will be partial to him.
    And there is always the chance that you get a "Balmer"

  • Reply 42 of 75
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,761member
    k2kw said:
    My biggest problems with Cook is that he has under-invested in several areas:
    1.  Siri.  - Maybe they have a chance with the new hire.
    2.  Neglected Computers - Mac Pro and Mac Mini. (When developers inside Apple are building Mackintoshes - you know its bad).
    3.  Too many software areas like education that get neglected and then Apple wakes up a couple years late and says we need to do something.
    4.   Display technology.   The have to pay what Samsung wants because they have put enough , early enough into display technology
    5.   Why is Eddy Cue still there.

    Only the BOD knows how much of a money pit TITAN is/was.

    And of course.   Who is Cook's heir apparent.    It would be nice if he or she was a creator or developer.  And ideally someone from within Apple who knows and cares about their products (not just the Earnings).   This is important because it can be very dangerous if the Board of Directorship to bring someone in to the company from outside. 

    Cook will probably stay put for a while because by now he's been able to pick enough board members who will be partial to him.
    And there is always the chance that you get a "Balmer"
    Aside from your point #1, though, this is all fine if they are transitioning from a computer industry innovator to a top consumer electronics company.
    Creatives will never be a significant slice of pie-chart, nor a profit maximizer.

    I love the argument expressed in the article that keeps blaming the lack of Mac keeping up on Intel and slow-down in chip advancement. What does that have to do with Apple not putting in Intel's latest stuff or modern ports for several years? Nothing.

    I think the reality probably is that Apple grew crazy-quick and all Cook could do is hold onto the reigns a bit to keep Apple from plunging off the cliff. My *hope* is that he actually means a few things he says more recently (which seem to contradict some other things he's said) and gets Apple back on track to making great products once again, for more than just one customer segment.
  • Reply 43 of 75
    Cook “must go” I can contemplate that...

    Next question “who’s better”?

    I got nothing...
    Critics of Cook are demonstrably stupid. 
    StrangeDaysmacxpresskiltedgreen
  • Reply 44 of 75
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 835member
    Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs.
    Then again, he doesn't have to be.
    They're both winners in their own right.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 45 of 75
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,761member
    gregg thurman said:
    Critics of Cook are demonstrably stupid. 
    ... to Apple fanboys? :)

    But, seriously, while there are some really silly critics out there, I think there are also some very valid criticisms. There were valid criticisms of Jobs though, too. It depends on what you want Apple to be, I suppose.

    bluefire1 said:
    Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs.
    Then again, he doesn't have to be.
    They're both winners in their own right.
    Product excellence vs most valuable company in the world?

    The problem is, I'm not an Apple shareholder, so while it's nice to see one of my favorite underdog companies finally win in that way, my primary concern is about the products they make and how they impact the world. If Cook can't win in that regard, then I don't care so much if he's a winner in terms of Apple's growth and shareholder value.

    Maybe my concerns are unfounded, and Apple just had some growth pains. I'll gladly be wrong if that's the case, as then everyone wins. My concern, both for my best products objective, but also long-term for the shareholders, is that if Apple's fundamentals have shifted, they eventually won't be so financially successful either.
  • Reply 46 of 75
    I’ve met Steve Jobs several times and observed him over the years!  Steve was brilliant, but some considered him an arrogant asshole.

    IMO, Steve had the ability to evaluate people — reject the Bozos and surround himself with the best talent and extract their abilities to perform  on a higher then they knew they were capable of.

    I don’t know Tim Cook except by observing his performance.

    Steve’s greatest accomplishment may be that he knew his limitations and selected someone to succeed him who could take Apple to where he, Steve, could not lead them...

    Said simply: Steve Jobs was no Tim Cook!
    edited April 25 mattinozradarthekatMisterKitSpamSandwichmacxpressmmatz
  • Reply 47 of 75

    There is no mention of Cook's stances on Privacy, Inclusiveness and the other touchy topics that he's got the balls to stand for.

    However, I appreciate that the article is sticking to the core issue - revenue generation, which is the main job of the CEO. Cook is no Jobs, but as Dick Applebaum so aptly put it, Jobs was no Cook, either!

    This is a well written article.

  • Reply 48 of 75
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,761member
    dick applebaum said:
    Steve’s greatest accomplishment may be that he knew his limitations and selected someone to succeed him who could take Apple to where he, Steve, could not lead them...
    Said simply: Steve Jobs was no Tim Cook!
    From a sheer business operations perspective, I'd probably agree. A big company like Apple now certainly needs operations experts, and most visionary/entrepreneur types often don't have those skills. But, my concern isn't that Tim can't brilliantly operate Apple as a business. My concern is over vision and possibly not being able to say no to the right things (which Jobs' seemed to have no issue there)... or that maybe he's operating it a bit too much like a typical tech company.
  • Reply 49 of 75
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 928member
    cgWerks said:
    dick applebaum said:
    Steve’s greatest accomplishment may be that he knew his limitations and selected someone to succeed him who could take Apple to where he, Steve, could not lead them...
    Said simply: Steve Jobs was no Tim Cook!
    From a sheer business operations perspective, I'd probably agree. A big company like Apple now certainly needs operations experts, and most visionary/entrepreneur types often don't have those skills. But, my concern isn't that Tim can't brilliantly operate Apple as a business. My concern is over vision and possibly not being able to say no to the right things (which Jobs' seemed to have no issue there)... or that maybe he's operating it a bit too much like a typical tech company.
    Agree but don't think Apple needs the next Steve Jobs to get back there, they need the next 8 (made up number) potential design leaders at various stages of career to spread round the business and see so who excels. It would nice on both fronts if they didn't leave the narrative so open to speculation for basically half the year. 
    edited April 26
  • Reply 50 of 75
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Something that's much more important today than it was during Jobs' era is digital privacy, and I think we're fortunate to have at least 1 big tech company whose CEO has that as a personal value.
  • Reply 51 of 75
    mike54mike54 Posts: 268member
    Disagree. Tim Cook's priority is profit and shareholder growth, this should clear by now. The board and the institutional shareholders have a much more significant say in the company that what I would like. If you equate share price performance with TIm Cook's performance and vision, good for you, but I disagree.

    A few a good products has been released under TIm's watch, such CPU's, airpods, 13in iPad, but for the most part, the product range has been reduced, some products haven't been updated for years or forgotten about, constant improvements and promotion of existing HW/SW/technologies has slowed, and quality in both HW/SW have slipped. I believe that Apple making TV shows are a complete and utter waste. There is enough rubbish on the box already.
  • Reply 52 of 75
    jaaycojaayco Posts: 46member
    scott6666 said:
    I wholeheartedly disagree. Cook is a good beancounter abd operations man. And caretaker while Jobs was sick. But he’s an awful CEO. He’s convinced every level it’s alright to have mediocre products with half complete features and bugs galore. 

    Steve didn’t invent everything himself but he did push people to do more than they ever thought possible. Mr Nice Guy Tim is ruining all that. 

    And all the time Tim spends on social issues when he should be CEO kills me. Perhaps Tim has so little to do with the company he has plenty of time to be political. But that’s just another reason he should not be CEO. 

    Tim’s legacy for Apple is slow decay to oblivion as the Jobs product train runs out. 
    It's always easy to tear people down. Seems to be what people do nowadays. Let's assume you are right for a minute... there must be other companies out there that have a better spread of hit products, a pipeline of new and exciting products that are bigger than what Apple has created under Tim, and a better CEO. I'd like to hear what products you can name that started from nothing and are bigger than the Apple watch as a business, for example. 
    macxpresskiltedgreen
  • Reply 53 of 75
    mike54mike54 Posts: 268member
    entropys said:
    The problem I have with Cook is he seems to be too preoccupied with other things than ensuring macintosh computers are always the best.  The end.
    Agree. macOS is great, but ripe for more improvement, bug fixes, features. Tim Cook clearly has lost interest in this.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 54 of 75
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,256member
    The article stated categorically and repeated in various ways:
    "If Steve Jobs were alive today" are arguments are, by their very nature, specious and ridiculous."

    BULL!
    The fact is, Tim is not only very different from Steve, but he lacks some of the key attributes that enabled Steve to accomplish the things that he accomplished -- chief among them was his uncanny ability to bring together bleeding edge technology, see its potential and put it out as a revolutionary, but highly refined and polished product.   Another of his attributes was that he simply would not tolerate mediocrity.  Period.

    No, Tim does not possess those qualities.  But, to his credit, he realizes that and he manages Apple in his own way to produce successes that rival those of Steve.  So...
    Was Steve an excellent leader?   Of Course!
    Is Time an excellent leader?   Of Course!

    But to say that they should not be compared is just wrong in the extreme.  In fact, I suspect that Tim himself asks himself "What would Steve do?" on pretty regular basis.   That, and the humility that makes that question possible is part of Tim's strength.

    But, as the flip side of that comparison:  Can you imagine Steve meeting with Donald Trump as Tim did yesterday?  Even if it did happen, it would not have been a smooth, productive meeting.  Instead, it would have been 2 bulls locked in the same room together.  Only one would have survived.

    The two are very different -- but that doesn't make one inferior to the other.  They were both humble enough to understand that.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 55 of 75
    Caffiend said:
    Cook or no Cook?

    As far as I can tell he’s a good CEO but Apple is losing its juice.

    Sitting on a Mountain of off Shore Money may be fine for the investor class, but does consumers little good. A good CEO needs to exhibit political savvy (and have a strong stomach).

    Apple is mainly coasting on incrementalism. Incrementalism if fine but provides little incentive, little fun, and much less excitement.

    Apple needs to really fund and support more creativity in the company. We need something like a Green Apple Division which we know are exploring “Next Generation” ideas and products under which label we find and get to play with these experimental ideas.

    In the realm of incrementalism Apple can be clueless or boneheadedly cheap as it is in not updating the Airport Express and it’s optical out to serious sound systems and in not updating the iPad Mini with more memory, storage and processing power. 

    In the meantime we have our iPhones, iPads, and Mac(s) of choice, but for innovation we seem to need to look elsewhere.
    Complaints about “incrementalism” under Cook are also specious. There is a false impression that under Steve Jobs, Apple rolled out one obvious game-changing, undeniable innovation after another, yielding instantaneous success and massive sales. It’s simply not true. First, the innovations under Jobs were almost entirely recombinations of existing tech, e.g., the iPhone was a touch-screen PDA with a phone built in. It wasn’t the first touch-screen PDA. It wasn’t the first smartphone. Innovations like ditching the physical keyboard of the Blackberry and the stylus of the Palm Pilot were initially popularly dismissed as bugs rather than features. Adding GPS and an App Store with inexpensive third-party apps were real innovations, but were also incremental improvements to an existing, underperforming device that was initially rolled out at too high a price. Nobody remembers that. The truth is that Jobs’ famous “One more thing...” was almost always an introduction of an incremental improvement. Jobs’ charisma made it seem more amazing initially, but the realization that incremental improvements were in fact game-changing innovations were almost always slow-burn successes best seen through a rose-colored rear-view mirror. Criticisms of Tim Cook’s incrementalism are based on a false expectation that introductions of new products like Apple Watch or the HomePod are supposed to be instantaneous, game-changing successes. The watch was billed by the critics as a failure at first, but now you see them everywhere. Now people are criticizing underperforming sales of the HomePod. Wait a couple of years, and it’ll probably be a different story, but by then, the peanut gallery will have moved on to pronounce the failure of whatever new tech Apple is introducing then, inevitably comparing that “disaster” against Jobs’ record of instantaneous success.
    edited April 26 StrangeDays
  • Reply 56 of 75
    GHammerGHammer Posts: 29member
    Are you celebrating/excusing Tim because of the money Apple has? Nothing to do with being a socially responsible company. Nothing to do with being a great design company. Nothing to do with being even a 'nice to do business with' company.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 57 of 75
    I'm not among those who call for Cook's head, nor those who think Jobs walked on water. But I notice that chief among your observations about the performance of Cook during his tenure are financial metrics and virtually nothing about the design and quality of products, and this is very telling.

    I realize that one cannot put in a help-wanted ad for a visionary — it simply doesn't work that way. Granted. But one thing Steve Jobs is documented to have done — and rightly so — was to eschew concern about the performance of the stock and the demands of shareholders and to stay focused on building products of high quality. As we all know, since its part of Jobs folklore, is that he sought to skate not where the puck is but where the puck is going to be. 

    Easier said than done to be sure, but if Apple falls short by this measure, is it not better to do so by virtue of trying and then failing rather than for not having tried at all? 

    Historically, for Apple it was always about the products. To make great products for the world was the driving force behind the company's aims and strategies. And by and large, it has done this very well — whether by virtue of innovating or by perfecting and polishing existing technologies.

    But at this point, seven-plus years after Jobs passing, it's not unreasonable to ask about new products or new technologies. Where are they?

    Yes, Apple's continued move into services under Cook is working out well. And by all accounts, the Apple watch is a leader in the wearables category. And not everything Jobs touched turned to gold — no question about that. 

    But Cook is in many respects a typical, risk-averse, "caretaker" CEO, focusing more on counting beans than on keeping Apple at the forefront of new and exciting products for consumers. 

    If you will indulge a sports metaphor, not every appearance at the plate will result in a hit. And not every hit will be a home run — not for Jobs, not for Cook, and not for anyone. But I have seen little from the leadership of Cook to instill confidence that he is safeguarding Apple's reputation as a company which every few years can be counted on to bring new and exciting products to consumers and in so doing to shake up the market. 

    Time will tell...
    edited April 26 cgWerks
  • Reply 58 of 75
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Great article tho’ for this oldie who has been all in since the Apple][, it’s all a bit of a yawn. I’ve seen every argument put forward in this thread, come and go...at least a dozen times. 
    What is impressive about Apple, is the sheer passion it has provoked over the decades. Pro or anti, Apple still excites, still does dumb stuff and is as remote as ever. Dull? - not even a real question. That Apple still has to minutely justify every move, product or pronouncement, is hugely reassuring. That it hardly ever does, makes me smile. 
    Is there any other company operating in the same realm, that comes close?
  • Reply 59 of 75
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 446member

    "If Steve Jobs Was Still Alive"

    Everyone making an "if Steve Jobs were alive" argument might as well be saying that "If Steve Jobs were alive, he would be doing everything exactly the way I would if I were running things at Apple."


    And, don't forget, if Jobs is infallible about things Apple as claimed -- he picked Cook for the job.
    I completely disagree with the "might as well be saying..."
    Steve kept everyone on their heels with regard to new developments, and when Apple came out with new stuff, you would have thought it was a friggin moon shot.  He kept all of us guessing.  And... when things didn't go quite as planned, he was dead in the middle of it, kicking ass and taking names.  No one knew what was going on, but everyone trusted him to bring the "one more thing"

    I have never heard that Apple supports the idea that Steve was infallible - after all, he picked Sculley.

    As others have said, Tim is good for something...
    edited April 26
  • Reply 60 of 75
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,901member
    This was a very nice summary. I'm not a fan of either Jobs or Cook but they both deserve credit for different reasons.

    Jobs had to fly into headwinds and was responsible for the Digital Hub, OSX and the first Apple 'cloud' attempts (eWorld aside) and subscription/digital purchases/added value model. What we call services today.

    Cook had to take the helm of a beast in full metamorphosis and not screwing things up was success in itself.

    I still have plenty of criticism for both of them but credit where credit is due on the things that have 'worked'.
    cgWerks
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