Steve Jobs criticized Tim Cook for not being a 'product person'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
Biographer Walter Isaacson knew Ive was reducing his role, and also says his book 'softened' complaints that Steve Jobs had about Tim Cook not being a product guy'.

Walter Isaacson [via CNBC]
Walter Isaacson [via CNBC]


Walter Isaacson, author of the official biography of Steve Jobs, has told CNBC what Apple's co-founder thought of both Jony Ive and Tim Cook.

"I think the words 'spiritual' and 'soulmate' are actually right on target [about Jobs and Ive]," he said on CNBC's Squawk Box show. "They had not just a mind meld, but almost an emotional meld. Jobs at his core was a product person who loved Jony Ive."



Isaacson explained how it was a ritual for Jobs to continually check in with Ive.

"Every day when Jobs was in the office in Cupertino, he would go at midday to that big locked door that went to the design studio," he explained.

"[Jobs would] be brought in, everybody else would be ushered out, and he'd go table to table with Jony," he continued. "They'd feel not just the phone, but the plug, the jack, the way the wire coiled everything else."

In comparison, he says Apple under Tim Cook "is a company that knows how to execute pretty well," but is lacking what Jobs and Ive brought to it.

"I softened it in the book a bit, but in my book, Steve says how Tim Cook can do everything," continues Isaacson. "But then he looked at me and said 'But Tim is not a product person.'"

Isaacson says that he often softened comments he thought were too hard, that he weighed the needs of the reader against the hurt that could be caused to "someone you know he loves."

Questioned about the way that Jony Ive's departure was announced, and how Tim Cook denied press reports, Isaacson says he believes the articles were correct.

"The Wall Street Journal had a really great story about how Jony had checked out for the past two or three years," he said. "[Tim Cook] did not deny any specific thing in that article... he said the article is wrong because it misunderstands the new culture at Apple."

"I also found it as interesting that Jony Ive didn't say a word," he added. "If you've read that story, it has what our friend Dr Kissinger would say is the 'odious smell of truth'."

Tim Cook has not responded to Isaacson's comments, but in 2015 said his biography did a 'tremendous disservice' to Steve Jobs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    andrewj5790mef475StrangeDaysgilly33AppleExposedyojimbo007jony0
  • Reply 2 of 58
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,101member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, Pencils, iPad Mini, Retina MacBook, iPad Pro, iMac Pro, new Mac Pro, and to see and reject toaster-fridges. Compare to Steve Ballmer. That writer strives to align himself to WSJ by directly attacking Tim Cook because Tim Cook had criticized his lifetime masterpiece as a disservice. Steve Jobs wouldn’t be a “product guy” without a “operations guy”. One can imagine an ultimate product, if that cannot be produced in scale, it is vapor.
    edited July 2019 mef475StrangeDaysFileMakerFellersteveauuraharajony0
  • Reply 3 of 58
    allmypeopleallmypeople Posts: 425member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it.
    Yeah, but it's a good attempt at confirmation bias. Cook doesn't "seem" like a product guy. So, a BS fake story like this is perfect to go viral. It's why so many can't stand the media no matter what their politics are.
    mef475doctwelveFileMakerFellersteveau
  • Reply 4 of 58
    ElCapitanElCapitan Posts: 372member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    edited July 2019 bloggerblograin22kestraldysamoriasteveauzinkdifferent
  • Reply 5 of 58
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,101member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    That’s your personal opinion. Your liking or not liking current Macs doesn’t make him a Compaq guy. I see no trace of Compaq in Apple’s current product line. Besides, being a Compaq, HP, DEC, Sun, IBM, Oracle guy is not a bad thing, these are the pioneers of computing industry.
    edited July 2019 jensonbAppleExposedjony0
  • Reply 6 of 58
    ElCapitanElCapitan Posts: 372member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    That’s your personal opinion. Your liking or not liking current Macs doesn’t make him a Compaq guy. I see no trace of Compaq in Apple’s current product line. Besides, being a Compaq, DEC, Sun, IBM, Oracle guy is not a bad thing, these are the pioneers of computing industry.
    Since when is Compaq a pioneer of the competing industry? It's, like Microsoft's only accomplishment is leeching off of other people's creations!
    kestraldysamoriajony0
  • Reply 7 of 58
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it.
    Yeah, but it's a good attempt at confirmation bias. Cook doesn't "seem" like a product guy. So, a BS fake story like this is perfect to go viral. It's why so many can't stand the media no matter what their politics are.
    Yep. And someone from 9to5Mac pointed out that he did put a Jobs quote in the book that Cook “wasn’t a product person, per se”. So Isaacson just wants in on the Jony Ive is leaving story. And saying Jobs told him Cook wasn’t a product person is a juicy story that will go viral.
    tmaymef475jensonbStrangeDaysGG1AppleExposedFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 8 of 58
    dicebier1dicebier1 Posts: 20member
            It was well documented and known that Tim was a logistics guy mainly before taking on his current role. To imply that Tim is some sort of tech visionary or has introduced anything revolutionary (Apple watch was an advanced version of an iPod nano with a wristband he saw) would be a stretch.
            He does what most CEO’s do....he tries to surround himself with people who know what they are doing.
             Apple has stalled unfortunately...lots of evolution but nothing truly visionary. I really hope Apple shows me something I “didn’t know I wanted or needed” until I saw it! THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

    edited July 2019
  • Reply 9 of 58
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    dicebier1 said:
            It was well documented and known that Tim was a logistics guy mainly before taking on his current role. To imply that Tim is some sort of tech visionary or has introduced anything revolutionary (Apple watch was an advanced version of an iPod nano with a wristband he saw) would be a stretch.
            He does what most CEO’s do....he tries to surround himself with people who know what they are doing.
             Apple has stalled unfortunately...lots of evolution but nothing truly visionary. I really hope Apple shows me something I “didn’t know I wanted or needed” until I saw it! THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

    Other than the iPhone there was nothing like that in the Jobs 2.0 era. And something like the iPhone doesn’t come around very often.
    bonobobroundaboutnowdysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 58
    andrewj5790andrewj5790 Posts: 295member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    Since the Mac user base has grown substantially under cook that statement is simply false. 
    StrangeDaysAppleExposedMisterKit
  • Reply 11 of 58
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 530member
    Isaacson is spinning for all he's worth here. Jobs was also known to be fond of Scott Forstall and he and Ive's relative antipathy towards one another was also widely reported. This notion that Jony Ive is somehow this singular reincarnation of Jobs whose departure will leave Apple rudderless is as ridiculous as the "sky is falling" predictions when Jobs himself passed.

    He also appears to fundamentally misunderstand why Jobs left Cook in charge at all. He specifically didn't want to build an Apple that required a Steve Jobs to function, his goal was to build an Apple that could happily persist long after he was gone. The whole point was not needing a product guy to run the place. He instilled in the company and its staff the culture & approaches necessary to make "product stuff" intrinsic specifically because he knew it would need to be run by operations guys like Cook eventually.

    It's also hilarious that he seems to think his knowledge of Jony stepping back is some incredible insight. This was widely known years ago. One of the reasons Ive moved to the invented CDO role was so that his day-to-day responsibilities could be delegated. "Oh Ive hasn't denied it so you know it's true" - ah yes, the famously quick to comment Jony Ive. Who's so well known for constantly talking to journalists. Right.
    StrangeDaysJinTech
  • Reply 12 of 58
    mef475mef475 Posts: 3member
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it.
    Yeah, but it's a good attempt at confirmation bias. Cook doesn't "seem" like a product guy. So, a BS fake story like this is perfect to go viral. It's why so many can't stand the media no matter what their politics are.
    It's a good attempt for a dinosaur to stay relevant in the news... Definitely not a good choice of biographer IMHO... 
  • Reply 13 of 58
    ABiteaDayABiteaDay Posts: 49member
    When is enough just enough.  Isaacson has self-annointed himself as Apple sage, who was “being soft” in his book.  No, Isaacson, even with his book, is a writer who is in permanent quest for relevance in his life.  He gets paid to write these stories, but they are useless, non-productive and should be condemned.  Notice how his story conveniently left out the fact that the “product” guy, Tim Cook, has increased Apple’s value as a company and Apple’s stock price exponentially. Apple was pioneered by Steve Jobs, but its value as a company was massively increased since Cook took over as CEO.  Steve Jobs knew what he needed, and, sadly, he stepped down and anointed Cook to accomplish things that he himself was not interested in.  And guess what? It worked.  With all the incessant whining by Apple users, and all the massively inaccurate articles coming out every day about Apple’s future, I think its time for Apple to close up shop, liquidate its assets and allow copycats and substandard companies to take control.  

    Imagine a world without Apple, and you can pretty much see what I’m saying. 
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 58
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    How are Compaq’s sales doing compared to Macs? Oh yeah they don’t exist anymore. So...zero. 

    Cook didn’t almost ruin the Mac line, they’ve been doing great, even while then industry slows. If you’re expecting Cook to supervise engineering of the old MP and its thermal corner problem, you’re high. Not that you bought one anyway. My iMac is still going, but I look forward to upgrading to either a 5k or iMP, both are excellent machines. My MBP will be around for a lot longer. 
    edited July 2019 cornchipjony0
  • Reply 15 of 58
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,208member

    dicebier1 said:
            It was well documented and known that Tim was a logistics guy mainly before taking on his current role. To imply that Tim is some sort of tech visionary or has introduced anything revolutionary (Apple watch was an advanced version of an iPod nano with a wristband he saw) would be a stretch.
            He does what most CEO’s do....he tries to surround himself with people who know what they are doing.
             Apple has stalled unfortunately...lots of evolution but nothing truly visionary. I really hope Apple shows me something I “didn’t know I wanted or needed” until I saw it! THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

    Pass the drugs, son. No one has ever claimed Cook is a tech visionary. He is an excellent CEO, however, performing the role and duties of a CEO. And under his watch, the product teams have delivered excellent products. Trying to downplay the AW as an iPod Nano is idiotic, they’re worlds apart as the AW is a much more complicated machine than an MP3 player. 

    Apple has not stalled. “Evolution”, aka iterative product development, is the name of the game. Gruber wrote about this almost a decade ago. Read up.


    ...It’s now we got from the original iPhone/Mac/Watch/whatever to the current versions, or iterations. True revolutionary product categories are few and far between. 
    jony0
  • Reply 16 of 58
    gilly33gilly33 Posts: 403member
    Wow Ive left and all the bullshit artists are coming out of the woodwork with usual gloom and doom nonsense. So why the hell did Jobs give Cook the reigns? This rhetoric is getting old. 
  • Reply 17 of 58
    ElCapitanElCapitan Posts: 372member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 
    How are Compaq’s sales doing compared to Macs? Oh yeah they don’t exist anymore. So...zero. 

    Cook didn’t almost ruin the Mac line, they’ve been doing great, even while then industry slows. If you’re expecting Cook to supervise engineering of the old MP and its thermal corner problem, you’re high. Not that you bought one anyway. My iMac is still going, but I look forward to upgrading to either a 5k or iMP, both are excellent machines. My MBP will be around for a lot longer. 
    You're damn right I did not bye the old "trashcan" MP. A lot of other folks did neither. 

    The difference between SJ - a product guy, and TC - not a product guy, is that SJ (or any other product management when he was absent from the company for that sake) would never let a disgrace as the current MP slip over such long period of time. To top off the disgrace, the current MP unchanged since 2013, is still retailing at premium prices while it technically is a trash can these days. 

    They also would not have let thermal disasters such as the MBP slip for years, or the keyboards, or gutting ports to the extent the machines becomes dongle and external box hell. 

    Being CEO of Apple implies also paying attention to, and correcting such disasters, and not let them slip for years. Of course TC is more busy virtual signaling and playing Hollyweired producer. 
    edited July 2019 dicebier1
  • Reply 18 of 58
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,196member
    ABiteaDay said:
    When is enough just enough.  Isaacson has self-annointed himself as Apple sage, who was “being soft” in his book.  No, Isaacson, even with his book, is a writer who is in permanent quest for relevance in his life.  He gets paid to write these stories, but they are useless, non-productive and should be condemned.  Notice how his story conveniently left out the fact that the “product” guy, Tim Cook, has increased Apple’s value as a company and Apple’s stock price exponentially. Apple was pioneered by Steve Jobs, but its value as a company was massively increased since Cook took over as CEO.  Steve Jobs knew what he needed, and, sadly, he stepped down and anointed Cook to accomplish things that he himself was not interested in.  And guess what? It worked.  With all the incessant whining by Apple users, and all the massively inaccurate articles coming out every day about Apple’s future, I think its time for Apple to close up shop, liquidate its assets and allow copycats and substandard companies to take control.  

    Imagine a world without Apple, and you can pretty much see what I’m saying. 
    I disagree. Jobs never cared about Apple’s stock price because he knew if he made great products, the money would follow, and it did. Bringing a company back from 30 days before death is no easy feat.  It was the products that saved Apple, not the cost cutting measures. 

    Cook was thrust into very difficult shoes to fill. What other CEO, was involved with almost every detail of every product created? Unheard of. 

    Jobs liked to surround himself with talent that would fight with each other on every detail of a product. That’s why when something failed, he would get very upset, because somewhere, someone missed something. Faddel, Rubinstein, Tevanian, Ive, Forestall, Federighi, Serlet, Cue and Schiller were all bouncing against each other to help create all of those iconic Apple products that were the envy of their competitors. When Jobs died, there was a conspiracy to remove whoever Phil, Jony, Craig and Eddy did not like. Thus creating the vacuum of products that had their souls in them. 

    The problem is, that way isn’t sustainable either. Many talented people left Apple due to stress and just being burned out, or they take the money and got out.  The newer employees don’t have that push to shorten their lives to make the same quality of product. 

    The fact that making money is more important than the customer experience is the reason why Apple is in the position it’s in now. 
    kestralFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 19 of 58
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,095member
    ElCapitan said:
    Yet Steve Jobs decided to put a non-product guy in charge of the company. How much do we really believe Isaacson‘s story? He can say whatever. Steve isn’t here to refute it. Also Isaacson knows Ive. He knows Ive is not someone who’s going to comment on an a rumor. In fact it’s entirely possible Tim Cook’s e-mail response to Dylan Byers was not sanctioned by Apple PR. The WSJ asked Apple if they wanted to comment on the story and Apple PR said no.
    He’s enough “product guy” to commit to iPad, to stay loyal to Steve Jobs’ Post-PC vision, to create the Watch, the Pencils, iPad Mini and to see and reject toaster-fridges.
    He is also enough "product guy" to almost ruin the entire Mac product line pushing part of the core base over to competing platforms. – Come to think about it, he is a typical Compaq guy. 

    This is completely false.  Mac market share has doubled since Tim Cook took over.  

    Your personal and subjective feelings do not change the facts. 


    StrangeDaysAppleExposedjony0
  • Reply 20 of 58
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,921member
    dicebier1 said:
            It was well documented and known that Tim was a logistics guy mainly before taking on his current role. To imply that Tim is some sort of tech visionary or has introduced anything revolutionary (Apple watch was an advanced version of an iPod nano with a wristband he saw) would be a stretch.
            He does what most CEO’s do....he tries to surround himself with people who know what they are doing.
             Apple has stalled unfortunately...lots of evolution but nothing truly visionary. I really hope Apple shows me something I “didn’t know I wanted or needed” until I saw it! THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

    Other than the iPhone there was nothing like that in the Jobs 2.0 era. And something like the iPhone doesn’t come around very often.
    Jobs created new products every other Sunday. We just never hear about them. :)
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