Time to be honest about Tim Cook

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For years Tim Cook has been criticized for not being Steve Jobs. Didn’t have his vision or style, yada yada. Apple was just coasting on Jobs past decisions. Whatever. Now with the new M1 chips and Apple using its own silicon and how seamless this transition has been along with Apples growth in services it’s time for honesty. Tim Cook has done a fantastic job and has made fools of Intel, Microsoft and his critics. The man has a plan while he may not have Steve Jobs style he excels in substance and execution. Apple seamlessly moved to ARM which Microsoft has failed miserably at.

The future for Apple looks brighter now than any time I can remember.

Comments (20)

20 responses to “Time to be honest about Tim Cook”

  1. Avatar

    bkkcanuck

    If I had to guess about the important quality Tim Cook has -- is he is not driven by money. Yes, he is probably close to being a billionaire now with what Apple has paid him over the years, but he lives in the same modest place and more or less has stated the rest (when he dies) will go to charity (after paying for his nephews schooling). Too many execs are driven by short term maximization of profits because their own remuneration is driven off that -- corrupting any long term vision they or the company has. Basically, Tim Apple has some very strong technical talent (like Johny Srouji) and they are allowed basically deliver the best that they can deliver... and in many cases they shine. IMHO

  2. Avatar

    codymesh

    I mean, Tim Cook did almost ruin the entire mac lineup by attempting to kill the Air, put crappy keyboards on the macbook pros, and then left the desktop mac pro to rot. And he did all this while pivoting to services with celebrity-focused nonsense like AppleTV+


    But yeah, crisis averted, I guess. Apple seems to be back on track now.

  3. Avatar

    bluvg

    The M1 does look very impressive, but let's not forget when Apple switched to IBM's chips and the "supercomputer" hyperbole and hand-wringing at the time. Xbox also switched for a gen. But the competition didn't just stand by.


    Maybe it's different now because it's a much stronger Apple making their own, but there's nothing quite like an existential threat to sharpen a company's focus. Intel in particular shouldn't be written off just yet, especially if they finally resolve their process issues, which is a big factor in this.

    • Avatar

      ringofvoid

      In reply to bluvg:

      The M1 doesn't just switch CPUs like the previous Motorola -> IBM -> Intel moves, it switches from using a general purpose CPU to using a SOC. Even if/when Intel resolves their process issue, they're still making general purpose CPU's for manufacturers to integrate with other components. There are inherent advantages in a SOC over a general purpose CPU that Apple can benefit from even if we were comparing 5nm to 5nm.

      • Avatar

        bluvg

        In reply to ringofvoid:

        I don't think the SoC vs. CPU distinction is significant anymore, much like the difference between microkernel vs. monolithic. Most OSes are a hybrid of some kind now, and most CPUs likewise have SoC design elements--integrated memory controllers, integrated graphics, etc. But aside from that, SoC designs don't necessarily have a performance advantage over CPU + discrete component designs--Intel's integrated graphics are notoriously slow compared to the competition, for example.

  4. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    While we're being honest about Tim Cook, let's not forget the suicides and human rights abuses that exploded under his leadership. Tim Cook is a lot of things, but he's not a Steve Jobs-type product visionary, or a tech seer of any kind. He's just a numbers guy. And that means he's all about the money, first and foremost.


    Former employees say Apple stood by while suppliers violated Chinese labor laws - The Verge

    • Avatar

      reefer2

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Spot on and exactly right. Tim Cook is not a product guy by any means, just a company man. Easy to forget generations of creative and innovating people that were recruited under Steve Jobs still very much pays off today and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future since they in turn recruit people that have the same mindset.

      Steve Jobs legacy is foremost in creating an DNA of product culture in Apple that will endure for a long time, regardless of who is the CEO.

    • Avatar

      bkkcanuck

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      I have seen both Apple suspend major suppliers for violations and some reports from former employees. You lose a bit of control when you contract out manufacturing, which by itself is not an excuse... just think it needs more thorough investigation by the US (maybe a congressional investigation since it likely does not violate US law)... and then maybe legislation in the US itself to make sure foreign violations of workers rights are also a violation under US law (similar to bribery laws). As part of the new legislation the push should be to also have the law adopted in most western countries. Not sure how to proceed with the same violations from companies who are not US based - I am sure there are ways.

    • Avatar

      beckoningeagle

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      He's like a Jack Tramiel with the vertical integration stuff. Although I think Jack was a bit more of a visionary then Tim.

  5. Avatar

    ghostrider

    Cook most definitely did let Apple coast on Job's legacy for a LONG time. Most Apple products over a number of years were just tweaks and refreshes - nothing revolutionary at all. Infact, nothing new came out of Apple for a very, very long time after Job's death. I also think this transition back to ARM is nothing revolutionary either - Apple are doing this for two reasons - they've had enough of Intel's slow pace of innovation, security issues and poor management, and they eventually want total control of every single part of their product stack - inc CPU's and GPU's. Apple like to control everything - it's in their nature. I doubt the idea for M1 came from Cook either - but he'll take the credit for it.

  6. Avatar

    winner

    Agreed. Tim now has his grand slam. He's not Steve but he's very, very competent.

  7. Avatar

    interloper

    He is an immensely underrated CEO. Apple is inextricably linked to Steve Jobs; for many, it will always be “his” company. Yet Cook has delivered in spades and turned Apple into an almost untouchable juggernaut with mass market appeal while retaining its luxury cachet.


    It’s an astonishing achievement. He has also fully realised Jobs’ vision of the Mac as an appliance; SJ would be immensely proud of the new M1 machines. His successes include AirPods, Apple Watch - both category defining products - and the huge growth in services, something Apple never previously excelled in. And behind the scenes, he has picked talented individuals and made smart acquisitions who deliver again and again as well as mastering the supply chain in ways other companies can only dream of.


    If that wasn’t enough, Apple has become a powerhouse in chip design while no-one was looking. As the iPhone and iPad delivered class-leading SOCs one after the other, they were readying the chips which would shake up the PC market. Their entry-level M1’s are an embarrassment to Intel and a stark wake-up call for AMD, Qualcomm and Microsoft - and it all happened in plain sight, with two years’ warning.


    This is Tim Cook’s Apple now. His achievements are staggering.

  8. Avatar

    james.h.robinson

    Apple acquired PA Semiconductor in 2008. Apple switched the iPhone over to in-house designed silicon in 2010. This was while Steve Jobs was still alive. the M1 is an evolution of those early Apple processors (the A4, I believe).


    I'm not saying Tim Cook is a bad CEO. In fact, I believe he is the type of CEO a Fortune 5 (not 500) tech company needs. But let's give credit where credit is due.


    And both Intel and Microsoft will continue to do well with or without Apple.

  9. Avatar

    longhorn

    Tim Cook nearly killed the Mac by proxy (Jony Ive?). Tim Cook became CEO in 2011. What happened?


    No updates to Mac Pro, then Mac Trash Can. Back to normal in 2019.

    No updates to Mac Mini between 2014 and 2018.

    MacBook 12" with one USB-C port

    MacBook Airs and Pros with bad thermal design (thermal throttling because too thin) and crappy keyboards.


    Pick one of the above and that's enough to fire a CEO in a smaller company.


    Then Touch Bar, but no model with touch display and 360 hinge? It could be argued that Apple left the 2in1 market to MS, because Apple wants to sell iPads.


    Only because of unloved Windows 8.x and Windows 10 was Mac able to maintain 10 % global market share. Macs can easily be a much bigger business.


    If Apple didn't have its iPhone/iPad business and its own OSes, Mac hardware would have become obsolete before the launch of the M1. It was the other business units that saved the Mac disaster.


    Maybe it was a mistake to fire Scott Forstall, because after that Jony Ive stopped to deliver (Ive was very good before). There must be heros at Apple considering the continuous iPhone successes. Making the App Store profitable isn't hard when you basically have a Store monopoly on the iPhone.


    But yeah, overall Tim Cook must be considered a very good CEO, because of iPhone, Watch and SoC design advancements. Craig Federighi deserves credit on the software side. I have no idea who the hardware geniuses are.


  10. Avatar

    2ilent8cho

    Whilst over all Tim Cook seems to be doing a good job there have been a few things, important things he lost sight on for a period which I don't think Steve Jobs ever would. The Mac Pro for example was left in limbo as an out of date trash can for too long, yes it might be a small market but it is an important one, its your big spending creatives who got burned by this.


    With the management change after Steve's death we as outsiders don't know how much disagreement and infighting has happened or how many years that may have taken to correct, you have the whole Scott Fortstall leaving over the iOS6 Maps thing, and a lot of people leaving or changing roles which is going to have an effect on the end products and systems, but to me from the outside Apple looks more stable now and the Mac seems very exciting again instead of unloved.


    Some choices made whilst under Tim Cook that really annoyed me despite being trivial are starting to U turn at last. I hated when they removed the chime/chord the Mac made when you powered one on and the glowing Apple on the MacBooks being removed, to me those felt so cool when I got my first Mac compared to the boring HP's and Acer's I had before, even WALL-E makes the Mac startup chime when he wakes. The Chime is now back with the new Mac's , so I'm hoping the redesign will at some point bring the glowing Apple back.


    The only thing I dislike about Tim is he is a bit too political for my liking.

    • Avatar

      interloper

      In reply to 2ilent8cho:

      I guess one fault with Cook is that he possibly delegates a little too much. Unlike Jobs, he didn’t seem to be as involved in product design, allowing Jony Ive to have final say on both hardware and software. That has bitten them badly in some ways - the loss of the chime and, more so, the iconic glowing logo has Ive’s quest for thinness and simplicity all over it.


      The trashcan was design for design’s sake and completely impractical, a dead end. But it’s the butterfly keyboards that really did them in. After that, Ive had to go.


      A Cook strength, then, is he’s also not afraid to send people packing, no matter how “unfireable” they are. First Scott Forstall after bungling Maps, then Angela Ahrendts for her missteps with retail. When Ive went, though, it became clear this was no longer Jobs’ Apple and that Cook has a necessary ruthlessness to ensure no one is bigger than Apple itself.

  11. Avatar

    shark47

    Tim Apple took a company that was doing incredibly well and didn't f it up.


    Don't get me wrong. He's been very successful, but this is like a kid born to rich parents with the entire world rooting for you after your parents died.

    • Avatar

      bkkcanuck

      In reply to shark47:

      When Steve Jobs died - Apple was worth maybe around $300 Billion. The iPhone was the vast (undiversified) majority of revenue for the company. Many of us did not invest in Apple because we saw it as a one-trick pony that would eventually come down from the bubble due to a much more competitive market long term with Android. The company is more diversified, and is now worth $2 billion. A lot of why Apple was worth $300 Billion in Steve Jobs time was to do with the operations when it came to supply chain. The company has had two good CEOs (Steve Jobs was both good and bad, the successor (not looking up his name) was a disaster, then Apple has had two good CEOs after... Simply put, Apple is what it is because it has been well run in this century (more than other companies) -- and the team that those two people were able to put into place as well. This bodes well for the eventual succession post Tim Cook.



      • Avatar

        stassi801

        In reply to bkkcanuck:

        Apple now is a 2 trillion not a 2 billion company.

      • Avatar

        shark47

        In reply to bkkcanuck:

        I don't disagree. I think he's been good for the company, but I also don't think what he's done is ground breaking given how well the company was doing. Most of the new products are peripherals that play on the success of the iPhone, which was a natural evolution for them. Even the M1 chips build on the success they had with the iPhone ones.


        Apple also has a much more forgiving and accepting user base than any other company I can think of. People hate corporations of that size. Apple has generally avoided that and some of it has to do with Steve Jobs and the love for him.



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