Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Widely consider a joke, the question of, “Who has been a more successful Apple employee: Tim Cook or Steve Ballmer?” Funny as it sounds, it rings true in some circles, and the comparison and contrast between the two men is worth thinking about.
Both Cook and Ballmer became the successors to high tech empires that were at the top of their game. While Bill Gates did not pass away, he did step aside from the day to day operations and stayed on the board or directors (he also is the company’s largest stock holder). This left Steve Ballmer in charge of a company at its peak — a company that could do no wrong. At the time of Steve Ballmer's ascension to becoming Microsoft CEO, the company had done nothing more than amass a track record of success and mammoth growth.
CEO of Apple, Inc. — Tim Cook — is his own man. He is no Steve Jobs (who is?) and has certainly done many things differently than Jobs would have. This isn't to say that Cook’s direction is poor, and Jobs was perfect. Stated another way, Apple is no longer running on Jobs’ legacy thoughts and leadership. The ship is truly Tim Cook’s to maneuver.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital 2013 conference stage last Spring answering a host of questions from Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, while fielding additional questions from the audience. Beyond Kara's witty charm and Walt's deadpan approach, nothing shocking came to light. Staying true to form, Cook delivered vague answers, falling back to the idea that people like surprises, but there is one product Cook and crew appear to be taking much more seriously. Apple TV.
It is now fall, 2013, and Apple has likely sold over 15 million Apple TV's since its inception, while roughly half of those units were sold in the last year alone. Notably, Tim Cook never mentioned at the All Things Digital conference, nor has mentioned, Apple TV as a hobby since 2012. In fact, over the past five public appearances by Cook, he has avoided calling Apple TV a hobby, or a product that Apple is very interested in and will simply continue to pull the string and see where it leads. That previous talk track is now gone, replaced with a message that Apple is selling up to 2 million Apple TV's per quarter, and that TV is an area of incredible interest.
Yesterday it became quite clear: Apple has no chance of surviving since Steve Jobs’ departure. With Tim Cook as CEO, Apple moves rudderless, in any number of directions, certainly not on time, and no one cares.
That's right, Ive's and company, not Cook and company. Don't get me wrong, Apple is Tim Cook's ship, but he isn't the showman or the man that makes the hardware and software design magic happen. Cook is the man behind the curtain controlling the gears, but Jony Ive and Craig Federighi are the hardware and software gurus that Apple's magic possible.
Tim Cook is a comfortable CEO. He isn't scared to let others take the limelight, presenting and promoting products for Apple. Cook simply isn't concerned with making Apple about himself, he's concerned with making Apple great. Some may argue Apple is great, but that's not how they look at it internally, not even close. Whomever and whatever it takes to keep Apple on the cutting edge and successful, that is what Cook will manage and promote. Over time, as Apple's success continues it will only further reflect on Tim Cook's CEO competence and capabilities. Clearly, Cooks' management style and media persona is different than Steve Jobs, but seriously, how could it anything but different? What is beginning to truly show through is Tim Cook is comfortable being his own man, doing things his way, and that Apple is on the cusp of being a run away success under his leadership style.
Steve Ballmer has done a good job at Microsoft, and Tim Cook, if measured in the same way, should be fired. This is according to Ed Bott, the award winning writer of ZDNET. During the infamous online technology show, TWIT (This Week in Tech), Ed stated “Steve’s done a pretty good job. There aren’t too many CEO's in the tech industry today that are capable of continuing to make a profit. I mean, by that same logic Tim Cook should have been fired three months ago.”
Is Apple stock (AAPL) ripe for buying? That's the question on Wall Street, but it may also be a valid question for individual investors.
Hedge funds have played havoc with Apple's stock price in past few years, bending the companies financial trajectory to their will, but with Apple providing a hefty dividend, and new products poised to enter the market this fall, the stock is making an attractive play this summer, and price of AAPL is reflecting a confident, if not bullish mood.
Apple will be releasing their Q3 (June quarter) 2013 financial results and holding their financial call on Tuesday, July 23. Financial results will be released sometime soon after 1PM Pacific. The financial results will be followed by a conference call at 2PM Pacific, which can be followed live on Apple's website here.
Apple is rebooting its award winning ad campaign, but this time around it has Tim Cook’s signature all over it.
Apple is taking to the airwaves with a new 60 second ad campaign, focused solely on its brand. Apple’s first brand reboot came in 1997 when Steve Jobs reemerged as Apple’s iCEO and left an indelible mark on the culture of tech, with the amazing Think Different campaign. No products, no glitz, just the impactful words “Here's to the crazy ones...” Apple positioned itself as the heart of the nonconformist during a time when 95 percent of the world was using a Microsoft PC.
WWDC 2013 is going live! As in Apple will be streaming the event live via their home page and Apple TV. Thus, T-GAAP will be bringing a recap of the show this evening, so stay tuned.