What are Tim Cook's most notable successes and failures during his time as Apple CEO? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Cook was effectively CEO long before he was officially CEO. Jobs was not a typical CEO, but more an eclectic mix of uber-QA-guy, visionary and front man.
Cook's period in charge has seen Apple's size and value grow enormously. So by any conventional business metrics, this has to be judged as a huge success.
Apple's main guiding principles seem to be still in place. Which reflects Cook's leadership providing a steady hand on the tiller.
One very clear win for Cook is that the company no longer bounces around focussing on whatever single thing Jobs was most excited by. The individual departments seem capable of running independently. This new ability for the company to multi-task, probably reflects Cook's willingness to delegate instead of micro-manage.
Cook is criticised because of a perception that world-changing innovation has declined since Jobs. This is probably unfair. The application of computer technology to consumer products, had some low hanging fruit. These fruit are now well-picked, and whoever is running the show would struggle to deliver meaningful new products on an annual basis.
But Cook is not perfect...
The hiring of John Browett to head the stores, was obviously a mis-step. It's hard to understand how someone with his background was selected. Browett was a terrible fit for Apple's culture.
The set of mis-steps which resulted in Apple Maps launch and the departure of Scott Forestall, could be down to Cook's failing to maintain control. It's hard to know.
Most worrying is a slow decline in the focus and zeal of the company. This is very hard to quantify, but there are a handful of signs that long-time Apple enthusiasts regard as troubling. Apple has relinquished the high end workstation market. There is no Mac with a world class GPU. The iPad is evolving sluggishly for something that should be the future of personal computing. Siri had a giantic head-start which seems to have been lost.
Individually none of these are especially important, but together they suggest that Apple's internal culture is satisfied with being merely great and not insanely great. I wonder if the company would benefit from a transfusion of passion and recklessness, which might add energy to Cook's temperate and steady leadership.
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