Apple CEO Tim Cook conducted an interview a few weeks ago at the Goldman Sachs technology conference. Cook discussed Apple's product line, grid-free power initiatives and the forthcoming Apple Watch (once asked about it). I've listened to Tim Cook interviewed and watched him give presentations dozens of times, just as I had Steve Jobs. There is one thing about each man that becomes abundantly clear. Steve Jobs was a pure genius visionary, while Tim Cook is cunningly smart.
Jobs birthed Apple, was fired, and was then rehired to save it. He did more than just save the company, he drove it to record success. Jobs could simply see things others could not, and he taught his fellow executives to remove the glass ceiling and dogma surrounding large businesses. Jobs had pet projects, such as the ill-fated Cube, and wildly successful iPhone and iPad. Who knows what he had up his sleeve for Television.
Apple versus Tesla. Tesla versus Apple. A new battle is brewing with claims of Tesla Motors gaining the upper hand on Apple Incorporated, in poaching employees. Last year it was rumored that Apple would be investing heavily in Tesla's upcoming Lithium Ion battery facility in Nevada for a share of the spoils. Evidently the tide has turned and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook can't stand each other... Here's an idea. Why doesn't Tim Cook just reach into his petty cash drawer, buy Tesla and end all of this nonsense.
A bit tongue and cheek for sure, but there is actual validity to Apple purchasing Tesla. Apple suffering brain-drain to Tesla can't continue. In fact, it can't continue to any entity so long they are unable to replenish that talent with greater boy geniuses. Microsoft has suffered over a decade of talent loss to Apple, Google and Amazon, with disastrous results. Steve Jobs understood the value of top talent, while Steve Ballmer clearly did not. Tim Cook's latest actions to buy back its former employees from Tesla showcases that Apple clearly understands the value of top talent, but Apple could do much more than just play tit for tat.
A good CEO knows that if their company rests on its success, impending doom will soon be at their doorstep. IBM became distracted and complacent. Microsoft believed it was invincible with over 90% market share. Thank goodness Tim Cook and Apple think differently.
Cook knows that despite all the success and glory with the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and the resurgence of the Mac, if Apple stands still history shows that Apple’s fate is certain — decline. While IBM and Microsoft are still with us today, they are not the companies they were at the peak of their success. The question is how Apple will maintain its success into the next decade.
If Apple were an ocean liner and Tim Cook her captain, there is little doubt that the USS Apple would be parsing the open waters at “full steam ahead”. While Steve Jobs turned Apple around, was very good at gathering top talent and then focusing that talent on a few key ideas — bringing excitement to the world with new gadgets and gizmos we all had to have, Tim Cook has brought stability to Apple.
Microsoft seemed very pleased with itself yesterday, as their Surface franchise managed over $1 billion in global sales for the December quarter. While Microsoft is trumpeting the sales figure, based on an average selling price of $1,000, Microsoft may not have actually sold 1 million Surface devices.
This is Microsoft, a company that has never let reality get in their way. Yesterday they were giddy like school girls about their fledgling 2-in-1 sales increase. Surface revenues rose from $908 million during the September quarter to $1.1 billion in the December quarter. Analysts expected sales of Surface would grow during the largest consumer quarter of the year, but with Microsoft’s massive advertising campaign, the software giant still cannot figure out how to sell over a million of their devices during the largest consumer hardware sales season of the year.
If history provides any guidance, we are less than six months away from WWDC 2015 — hard to believe, but true. With a few exceptions, Apple typically holds this massive developers conference in the month of June. Since Tim Cook has been guiding the ship, the “SS Apple”, Special Events, WWDC or any type of Apple announcements, have been on a strict schedule — WWDC in June, Special Event in September and a Special Event in October.
Can you hear it? That is Apple’s stealthy, yet highly effective marketing arm about to blow the media’s doors off with Apple Watch hype. This will not be some Microsoftian campaign, where massive kiosks are displayed in Times Square in an effort to create some sort of false enthusiasm. Nor will Apple’s promotion include renting Radio City Music Hall, containing several dance routines and a skit about a single Mom (thanks for searing that into my brain Samsung). Once the holiday season is over, with Christmas iPhones having been unwrapped and the New Years parties complete, Apple will start a quiet, yet savvy campaign for launching its market disruptive Apple Watch.
When the world's largest company's CEO writes a column stating he is gay, and does so in a major business publication, Businessweek, one would think it would be major news, yes? While it did make the mainstream outlets, it was not the leading headline, it wasn't a major segment, it wasn't hyped, rather, it was just news. Perhaps the response to Tim Cook's announcement spoke more about society at large than the announcement itself.
A t-shirt, popular in the 90's stated "Love Sees No Color" and it was dead on. Race, gender, looks, political preferences, or sexual orientation, we should all treat one other the same with love and respect, and it appears some progress in that area has been made. Some in the media questioned, or assumed Cook was gay. But whether Cook was a guy, a gal, black, white, gay, straight, or an alien from planet Q, I didn't care about that. I've never understood how that has anything to do with how he runs Apple? On a personal level, I hope that Tim is treated like anyone else.
Tim Cook has lead and experienced a wave of success at Apple. The result? Suddenly everyone wants part of the action. Cook is now being lectured by kooky numb-nuts with money and platforms on how to run Apple. Clearly, these people on the outside, who have done nothing to make Apple successful, know what is better for Apple than those leading it to record setting success.
It was just a couple of months ago that bloggers across the globe — including a few of us at T-GAAP — were asking whether Apple CEO Tim Cook was ever going to take Apple forward. More iPhone, iPad, an Mac updates, it was becoming an innovation snooze-fest as Apple hadn’t entered a new market category or created a revolutionary new product for years.
While WWDC gave developers an entire suite of new software tools such as Metal, Heath Kit and Swift, consumers were wondering whether the magic of creating something new had died with Steve Jobs. Don’t get me wrong, Tim Cook has done a wonderful job managing the company, but users of Apple product expect more than just good company management, they expect cool new technologies that no one but Apple can deliver.