Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO
Since Steve Jobs’s death one year ago, Apple’s stock price has increased 80% and catapulted the company to be the most valuable company in the world. Many will argue that this is case and point of Tim Cook’s success as the new leader of Apple. But the truth is, Tim Cook’s success can only begin to be measured, as the success of Apple over the past year was largely predestined by plans and products set forth before Steve Jobs past away.
Anyone in business would understand that it takes time to see the true abilities of a leader come to fruition. Depending on the institution’s size it could a couple months or a couple years, all depending on the programs that will proceed with any individual after the incumbent has left. In the case of Tim Cook, he has done exactly what he should have done that resulted in Apple’s tremendous growth and that is ride the wave Steve Jobs has already set in place.
While its too early to tell whether Cook is the right man for the job or not, some cracks in the empire Steve Jobs built are starting to be seen. Jobs was a fearless, and sometimes ruthless leader who knew what he wanted and would stop at nothing to get it accomplished. Like a horse with blinds, he only saw one direction, but that direction comprised of incredibly high standards, innovation, and building products for consumers that always worked well. He let very few people into his circle, and allowed very little information out of his company. In this tenure, Apple kept the names of its manufacturing partners under wraps. Many of his products, from laptops to the “i series” of iPods, iPhone, and iPad have refined the market and signal handedly created an industry worth trillions through its App Store. His business model has resulted in Apple stores being the most profitable retail shops in the world.
Cook’s first real test was the launch of the iPhone 5, and what a fail – comparatively speaking to Apple’s previous products – that was. Its back is much fun susceptible to damage due to the aluminum casing. After moving away from Google Maps for legitimate reasons, Apple’s rendition of Maps in iOS 6 achieved the same performance and outcome as this now famously failed restoration of the painting of Jesus:
Apple has also recently confirmed there is a problem with the iPhone 5 camera, which can show a “purple haze” in a picture taken using the phone.
Arguably, Tim Cook is on a learning curve, and yes, the company was never as big as this when Steve Jobs was at the helm, but Tim Cook has so far failed to provide the key ingredient of Jobs’s success, and that’s vision. He may be a great engineer, manager, or leader, but in order for Apple to continue its streak of innovation, Cook has to hold, or better the values and integrity that got the company here in the first place.
This is true for any company, and there are many current examples of how new individuals struggle and even fail following people as brilliant as Steve Jobs. For instance, Starbucks’s founder, Howard Schultz, left the company to new management who practically drove Starbucks into the ground. Since staging a successful coup and retaking the helm, Starbucks has shown phenomenal growth – synonymous to what happened when Steve Jobs stepped in to bring Apple out of the brink of extinction in the 1990′s.
Let’s take a look at Apple’s once mighty foe, Microsoft. Since Bill Gates left Steve Ballmer to run the show, Microsoft reported its first loss in twenty years! Once an innovator, Microsoft still hasn’t figured out a successful strategy to break into the smartphone market. They are like a sheep in a cage with a Godzilla and King Kong, respectively Apple and Google. Its gotten so bad, that Apple’s iPhone division alone makes more money than all of Microsoft. Bing? Let’s not even go there. Thank God they have XBox.
Cook and Ballmer are not bad guys, they are actually proven successful individuals. But it is extremely hard to fill the shoes of two geniuses such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It is because of Steve Jobs’s unique philosophy to “think different” that makes it quite difficult for anyone to take over his role and achieve the same level of results.