Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

Summary: Tim Cook is the right person at the right time for Apple. Why? He's better suited to fending off the hand grenades that come with being the most successful tech company on the planet.


Apple CEO Tim Cook talked Chinese working conditions, potential for a dividend, Apple TV and product cannibalization at a Goldman Sachs investment conference, but the biggest news may have been about the speaker himself.

Simply put, Cook is the right person at the right time for Apple. Apple and Cook are simply more likeable to me.

As I'm listening to Cook's chat Tuesday with Rachel King who was on scene, it hit me that it's hard not to root for the CEO a bit. The New York Times' Nick Wingfield said Apple revealed Cook as its latest product. I believe the opposite. Apple revealed that it has moved beyond the CEO as product mentality. Let's face it: Steve Jobs was a product. Jobs had a cult of personality. He had disdain for many things and would have never talked before an investor conference.

Cook comes off as the anti-Jobs in many respects. He's not all that flashy. He's a supply chain wonk. He doesn't have all the answers, but is open to crazy ideas like a dividend of some sort. And he's pretty forthcoming as Tuesday's Goldman Sachs talk showed.

Related: Apple's Cook bets on transparency to damp supply chain flapApple's Cook discusses supply chain, will publish monthly updates | CNET: Cook the cannibal: Apple chief's secret product recipe | Techmeme

Why does this matter? Cook's approach, tone and personality will be better for Apple at this point in its history. The company is going to be a target on multiple fronts. For starters, Apple is getting singled out for its China supply chain conditions even though pretty much everything you own worked through the same production steps. And then there's the inevitable regulatory issues. Naturally, there's a lot of competition.

Cook can manage through those wild cards better than Jobs would have. It's hard to imagine Jobs walking through the supply chain flap and coming off well. Congressional hearings? Forget about it. Jobs would have been a mess. Cook can juggle those hand grenades. Apple under Jobs had this religious aura and army of fanboys was created. Under Cook, the vibe is different.

Oh sure, Cook is competitive as hell and that's good. Cook also said that Apple will be all about great products. But there's also something more there. Cook is making his own way and Apple will evolve---just in time given that it’s going to be targeted immensely.

On the money front, Cook's approach will also help Apple in business tech---a space that's going to be huge for the company. Enterprise IT guys would cringe at Apple's hipper-than-thou customers---there's something to those Samsung ads folks---but Cook is one of them. He's a former IBMer. Cook isn't all about the showboating. That carries well.

Bottom line: Cook isn't magnetic in a product keynote, but he's doing the CEO gig his way. That way---a little bit of humble when you're running the most successful tech company on earth---is going to be a huge asset for Apple going forward.

Topics: Apple, Banking, Enterprise Software, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • No he's the anti Ballmer

    Someone with intelligence, a great personality, isn't morbidly obese and doesnt throw furniture like a caged gorilla when he's angry.
    • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

      @SamWilkinson that made my morning. 8)
    • True that - and he makes products that dominate the market

      @SamWilkinson ... Ballmer's whole thing is repeatedly announcing he isn't leaving as things at the Soft keep getting worse and worse.

      The wit & wisdom of Stephen A. Ballmer:

      "$500 fully subsidized with a plan! I said that is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard, which makes it not a very good email machine???. Right now we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year, Apple is selling zero phones a year. In six months, they'll have the most expensive phone by far ever in the marketplace and let's see???what's the expression? Let's see how the competition goes."

      ???Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the iPhone, January 2007

      "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get."

      - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the iPhone, April 2007

      "Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically???. but when you grab a Windows phone and use it??? your information is front and centre??? and you don't have to scroll through seas of icons and blah blah blah.

      A Windows phone gets things done."

      - Telegraph 10/18/2011

      Apple is a "cute, little, tiny niche guy." (February 2007)

      "Apple iPod users are music thieves." (October 2004)

      "I run every morning." (May 2007)

      "Google is an advertising company. Apple is a hardware company. They're one-trick ponies." [USA Today]

      "I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f---ing kill Google." [Sydney Morning Herald]
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @HollywoodDog Try a Windows Phone and then say its not a better Operating System. Windows 8 will bring Metro to the masses!!
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @HollywoodDog wow, dude get a life... LOL
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @HollywoodDog whatever you say doesn't have life. Bill or Ballmer, Microsoft was always profitable and profits had soared even in last quarter! The statement "Most successful tech company" as Apple is debatable. Apple is good agreed. Recently Apple was successful but still more sustainable is Microsoft. The most successful company is still Microsoft, 20 years they were on the top and no one was near, still Apple and Google has long way to go competing with Microsoft. The success of Apple is profound, but whether its sustainable is doubt full, they may or may not. But if they fail to come up with something like first iPhone in gaps it will remain a fanboys fantasy. Ipad is good but mostly it rides on the success of iPhone, result was obvious Android started capturing the market, Recent success of Lumia says windows phone is beating all negative sentiments and selling in millions. All this translates to bad news for Apple
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @HollywoodDog And Ballmer was kind of right. Apple dropped the price of the iPhone 1 by $200 within a month to $399 for the 8Gig. The iPhone 3G then dropped to $199 subsidized. It wasn't until then that they started selling.

        Proper device encryption and encrypted email didn't arrive until the 3GS, so most Enterprises weren't even looking at it until then. Even then, there are a lot of BB shops because it is more granular.

        Most Blackberries and a lot of 'Droids have keyboards, so there are still plenty of people who prefer that to a touch screen.
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @HollywoodDog Loverock flagged you by the way...he can't handle the truth.
        • It doesn't look like anyone flagged him,

          Did you just try to?
          William Farrel
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @GoldenAnswer "All this translatesto bad news for Apple"

        The same Apple that has a stock price of $500 a share? Or is about to hit the $500 Billion market cap. Yeah horrible news.....just horrible.
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple


        This is a blog about a new CEO at Apple. Where does it mention Microsoft? Why do you feel the need to turn this into a discussion about Steve Balmer when he is not the subject or purpose for this blog? If you don't have anything of value to contribute to this topic then stop posting here!
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple


        But if HD only posted when he had something worthwhile to say, he would never post.
        Lester Young
      • And Balmer was right.

        If the iPhone still cost 600 bucks, it wouldn't sell millions/year. When the price dropped to $200 (which is roughly the standard subsidized price for top end smart phones), it was a different story. It also worked when they dropped the price on the 3g to 300 (or was it 400?) but ATT raised the price of plans (which was actually a bad deal for consumers, but whatever).

        Once they lowered the price (and fixed some of the more glaring flaws, like no 3G and no cut/paste it became a great deal.
        And I've heard very good things about the latest Windows Phone OS. But make no mistake, Windows Mobile 6 was crap. I just got an iPhone, and the juries still out for me. It's very smooth (much better than android, but I miss having a back button). Not thrilled with having all my email under one app either (mostly because it's a work phone and I'd like a separate app/notification icon for non-work email.
      • Welcome back HD!

        Yak Yak Yak.

        Still sore, I see. :)
        William Farrel
      • LOL!

        You're about as ignorant a fool as I've ever come across. Nobody cares that you hate Microsoft. So instead of wasting your life writing inane, long-winded diatribes against Microsoft, go get laid, if you can. I'm betting you can't.
  • Re: Congressional hearings

    "Congressional hearings? Forget about it. Jobs would have been a mess."

    On the contrary - Steve Jobs at a Congressional hearing would've been the most awesome thing ever.
    • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

      @lumpy_blumpkin Walks in... "When you guys fix your budget process call me back" ... walks out.
      • RE: Tim Cook and a more likeable Apple

        @gtvr Seriously? Windows 8 is going to put iOS on notice. With the ability to have the SAME OS on the desktop, laptop (as everyone does now) and with Windows 8 - the TABLET, it's a new ballgame. Even the cellphones will be getting in the act, while not exactly the SAME OS, very similar. <br><br>Windows already has, what? 90% of the marketshare in OS? You can't tell me that is all industrial either. The only reason that Apple makes as much money as they do (and even before the iPad), is because they cost an exorbitant amount of money more than the competition. While they are beautiful - they're a like fashion models, beautiful on the outside, but after a while, they are high maintenance.<br><br>With non-iOS machines, you can switch out hardware at home at will. With iOS? Get in the car and go to your local Apple store.<br><br>Also, while I agree that Cook may seem more personable than Jobs (which - c'mon, a pit bull could claim that achievement), have you noticed any reduction in ridiculous lawsuits against the competition? I mean, they argued that in order for them to drop their suit against Samsung in Germany, Samsung would have to stop making the phone look rectangular with rounded edges, or black. I kid you not. Apparently rounded edges and black rectangular electronics weren't around before Apple. <br><br>Here is the link to that suit from Apple against Samsung:<br><a href="http://vrge.co/tiVEH0" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://vrge.co/tiVEH0</a><br><br>This was under Tim Cook's reign, not Jobs. <br><br>So much for a kinder, gentler Apple.
      • Apple is a big company with momentum

        "So much for a kinder, gentler Apple."

        It will take time to undo the damage that Steve Jobs did. Have patience.
      • Yes

        @gtvr thats exactly how it would go. They would say "touche" and that would have been the end of it.