Writing for MarketWatch, Brian Solis laments about the lack of innovative products from Apple since the iPad. Solis attributed this mainly to the departure of Apple’s co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs:
In a discussion about the future of Apple Inc. not long ago, I heard something that is becoming all too common: “I sold my shares in Apple,” muttered a chief marketing executive of a global spirits brand. He then sighed and said, “I’m losing my faith.”
In the post-Steve Jobs era, I and many others wonder whether Apple’s current position as the world’s most valuable business has run its course.
Is the magic really gone? The answer depends on whether you value historical performance or the future.
Tim Cook is a proven CEO and was hand-picked by Jobs to helm his juggernaut. Although charming in his own right, Cook is not a gifted showman nor visionary. Moreover, Cook is not an architect of the future, and without the gift of vision and persuasion he cannot communicate the future of Apple. This missing link is affecting the company’s potential and testing the faith of Apple’s devoted fans. As the world’s highest-paid CEO, Cook’s leadership is set to be tested within a few years.
Brian Solis is right in that Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs. However, Cook has a very ambitious and world class designer in Jony with him. This duo is the closest thing the world will see to the late Steve Jobs. Apple’s devoted fans need not concern themselves about the scarcity of innovation at Apple for the next ten years. Steve Jobs did not pass away overnight. I’m sure there are lots of products in the pipeline waiting for the right go-to-market strategy.
Saying that, Brian Solia got it totally wrong when he posited that Apple should consider buying Telsa and replace Tim Cook with Elon Musk in the process:
This is Apple’s time to think outside of the orchard. Acquire Tesla Motors and secure its chief visionary Elon Musk! Crazy? Veteran tech analyst at Berenberg Bank Adnaan Ahmad wrote an open letter to Cook and Apple Chairman Art Levinson last October suggesting just that. If anything, it’s this kind crazy thinking that demonstrates the limitless boundaries in which Apple can move.
Apple wasn’t just another great tech or consumer electronics brand; it became a lifestyle and a pinnacle for creative aspiration and innovation. As such, Apple needs more than the next Steve Jobs. The company needs a leader who can see beyond what Steve left behind; someone who can “put a dent in the universe.”
Here’s the thing, the culture at Apple is different from other tech companies in industry. There’s every chance a top CEO from another company will struggle to come to grips with this culture change.
Ben Thomspon had this to say in this piece – Tim Cook Is A Great CEO:
Cook is clearly a different person than Jobs, with different skills, and different motivations. That’s wonderful news for Apple; while a company can reinvent itself around new products and new categories, and continue to thrive,1 I believe culture is the sort of pie that can only be baked once.
I had the good fortune of being an intern at Apple, which gave me the opportunity to spend an hour (along with a few hundred of my closest intern friends) with every member of the leadership team, including Jobs and Ive. Cook was, by a significant margin, the most impressive of all of them.
The job of Apple’s CEO is, first and foremost, to understand what makes Apple, Apple. That is far more important than product sense, or operations excellence, or taste, or a million other attributes thrown around by pundits and analysts. On this criteria, it’s clear that Cook is the right man for the job.
I’m not convince that Elon Musk has a better understanding of what makes Apple, Apple than Tim Cook.