Claim made that Apple Board is pushing Tim Cook's Apple to innovate faster

Claim made that Apple Board is pushing Tim Cook's Apple to innovate faster

Fox Business Network's Charlie Gasparino claims he has sources telling him Apple's board is pressuring Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, to innovate faster. Supposedly they're unhappy that he's not keeping up the same pace that saw Steve Jobs introduce the Mac in 1984, the iPod in 2001, and the iPhone in 2007. Yes, he's basically saying Apple's board is... "bored now".

I don't have any sense of Gasparino's record when it comes to reporting inside information from one of the most secretive boards of directors in corporate history, or his reliability in general, but the story does seem either ludicrous or depressing on its face.

My gut reaction is that it's far more likely Fox doesn't have great sources on Apple's board, or that their sources had some broken telephone, or that Apple's board suddenly got hexed, or that Apple isn't innovating, or that Sharknado will win the Oscar for Best Picture this year, roughly in that order.

Anything is possible, but unless and until more information surfaces, this doesn't seem probable. I give Apple's board way more credit than Fox Business News.

Source: Fox Business Network

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 55 comments. Add yours.

richard451 says:

The stock is down and there is a still a void left by Jobs. I'm sure there are rumblings as how can there not be?

Jennifer Ryans says:

True, when the stock drops, the board will always want action. This is true with any company.

BLiNK says:

good. get off your ASS Tim.

iDisturbia says:

Yeah, hurry! Hurry! Innovate faster! ROFLAMO

I think Tim should kick each every board member' ass who said / supported that statement! WTF!!!

Then again, it's Fox! You know .... LMAO

mitsuyager9 says:

And the problem with Fox isss.....?

emjayess says:

Well, you know what they say: if you have to ask.....

mitsuyager9 says:

Then you aren't a blind Libtard?

MrCornfed says:

"Libtard".

And there goes your credibility.

mitsuyager9 says:

If only everyones comments were as intelligent as they are vague. Does anyone in here have two legs that are they same length instead of the left being shorter?

BB fan forever says:

Steve Jobs was so much Better than Tim Cook. Apple is doing well but Android and Microsoft is coming up in the game fast.

Shameer Mulji says:

Steve Jobs was better than any tech CEO...period! That isn't going to change for awhile.

erikbock says:

Microsoft is and will always be a distant 3rd in the mobility space. Windows is way too bloated to be a real competitor.

MERCDROID says:

Rene, don't act like Sharknado is bad movie, lol. You know you love it, lol.

Rene Ritchie says:

I think Megalodon has replaced it in my heart place!

Jennifer Ryans says:

The board is unhappy because the stock has fallen a bit. It is not outlandish to think that the board upon seeing how much value they have lost in the last year, would suggest to Cook to get something going. For Renee to dismiss the story because it was done by Fox Business is pretty petty on his part. Stick to telling us what your favorite Aps are and leave the business side of Apple to the people who actually know what they are talking about.

Rene Ritchie says:

Your comment started out almost sensible but then you had to go and ruin it with a personal attack. Why debase yourself?

Also, I'll tell you what I please. You can choose to make a cogent argument to the contrary, which you almost managed above, but that's as far as your power if not entitlement extend.

The report was single sourced, and the reporter has no verifiable history of presenting anything approaching substantive information about Apple. He's also, apparently, not without personal controversy.

All of those things ring alarm bells for anyone in the media.

I'll stick to reporting, thanks. You can figure the rest out :p

Jennifer Ryans says:

A little thin skinned are we?? LOL. Just as YOU can tell us what you please, so can we as the consumers of this information. Again, you dismiss the info because of the source, I am sure if it was a glowing endorsement of Apple you would feel different. When you are as biased towards Apple as you are, you lose all credibility. There isnt an analyst on the street who doesnt think the Board at Apple isn't pushing Cook for answers and action right now. Instead of looking at the facts and using a little bit of logic, you attack the source. Like I said earlier, stick to telling us about the tech side of the business because when you venture into other areas you sound petty and foolish.

lvavila says:

Rene's position IS NOT impartial although does give alternative due diligence. What credibility are you talking about? He (they) give their opinion, experiences, comparisons and comment on information posted by others.

Like Rene, your comments above have the right to be where you decide, but man do you sound stupid. Getting your feathers ruffled gives you no right to think you're "righter" than anyone else. I will use your exact comment: "Instead of looking at the facts and using a little bit of logic, you attack the source."

ericsmcdonald says:

Jenny Rene attacks the WSJ when it writes negative articles about Apple then posts glowing stories from them and doesn't question the sourcing at all.

In Rene's defense, it has nothing to do with Fox News/Business. It's that the story was anti-Apple so he has to tear it apart.

birdman_38 says:

"The report was single sourced, and the reporter has no verifiable history of presenting anything approaching substantive information about Apple."

Then, why report on it Rene?

stewm says:

I really believe every word that comes out of Faux, whoops my bad with that mispell, Fox News. I always take the news from them with a pinch of salt, just like when I am in the UK and read the Sun or, until it was killed because of their phone hacking scandal, and take what they reported with a pinch of salt as well.

dawggg63 says:

Riggggght... Faux News is MUCH more biased than MSDNC (whoops, MSNBC). Lets face it; all MSM plays to their base.

Irelandjnr says:

Playing to your base and reporting lies about what Apple's board supposedly said are two entirely different things. In going to go with my guy and say this story was planted to do a short of Apple's stock because they knew the board wouldn't/couldn't confirm/deny. And when it eventually comes out as not true we'll all have forgotten and moved on anyway. Must have been a bad source we'll hear.

Dark_Huntress says:

I am a total fangirl but IF the board did say that, I have to agree.

Cook is no Jobs but jeez c'mon.....

Rene Ritchie says:

And Jobs was no Cook, right? Jobs didn't oversee logistics and operations to the point that Apple products became as affordable as they were visionary?

They were a great team. Now it's a different team. Jobs loss was immeasurable, but Cook is still one of the best ops guys in the planet.

Shameer Mulji says:

You're wrong. Cook IS the best ops guy on the planet.

birdman_38 says:

Cook should take over the reins at BlackBerry.

CORYK333 says:

Easy there, they said he's "the best ops guy on the planet", not some god-like miracle worker ;)

peterb77 says:

No disrespect to Rene, but I have to agree w/ some of the commenters. The post does come across a bit catty. The facts are Apple's stock price is down ~35% since its all time high. Apple has not released any major updates except for the MBA Haswell refresh since the iPad mini, almost 10 months now. As a fan of Apple products I have faith that they are on the cusp of delivering some great new products, but as a stock holder I am also disappointed that it's taken them this long. I would be surprised if the board wasn't asking some pointed questions in Cook's direction.

Jennifer Ryans says:

Agreed. Apple has lost almost 250 BILLION in Market Cap in less than one year, what board of directors would NOT be pushing for action?

cardfan says:

I'd only add that Cook does seem to have problems managing expectations if he can't get his Board..on board. Although that would be his only fault. Personally, I don't think Cook is doing anything different than Jobs did. It's just the natural slowdown of growth and having all those billions sitting there not being reinvested somewhere. Investors are weary.

Shameer Mulji says:

Jobs did have one thing Cook doesn't - RDF. It's all about the RDF lol.

Jennifer Ryans says:

You are 100% correct about the expectations, the issue is that Board of Directors often have different expectations, especially when they see 250 Billion of Market Cap go bye bye. Whether it is realistic or not that the board will facilitate any innovation wasnt my point, my original post was more about Renee dismissing the report because it came from Fox News. Anyone with a cursory understanding of how these Boards of large companies operate would find it totally realistic that the board would be asking such things from Cook right now.

richard451 says:

Part of the problem is the Board was hand picked by Jobs, not Cook. Cook needs to bring some of his boys in.

Rene Ritchie says:

How much did the stock go up under Cook? Is it down compared to what it was when Jobs resigned?

dansamsoe says:

The stock is up under Tim Cook. It was 373$ when Jobs resigned and 378$ when he past away. So the stock is up roughly 20% in 2 years... seems okay to me.

birdman_38 says:

And is now worth $454 present day. Really, not that much of a difference from the levels you pointed out. It could drop down to under $400 by the end of this month.

dansamsoe says:

or it could go through $500 within a week....

cardfan says:

I question the report myself only because Apple hasn't done this ever (well..a freaking long time) and has no reason for doing so now.

That said, let's pretend it's real. What do you do if you're Cook? The real profit and growth came from iphone and the magic money machines (carriers). Apple is doing what they can to expand there without hurting gross profit too much with the 5C.

For ipads? They lowered the reach a bit with the ipad mini. That did affect overall gross margin a bit and I'd bet a retina Mini will only further affect it. But even so, it's a losing battle. You can't lead a market like that one as a premium brand. The cheaper tablets will take the lead. At this point, you want to keep as a high a percentage of the market as you can.

Macs and especially PC sales in general continue to shrink a bit. There's an opportunity there to increase your share of market but the overall market is shrinking.

An iwatch is a niche. The Apple TV has some potential especially if it could get partners to subsidize them but good luck with that.

People seem to have weird sales expectations with a premium company that focuses on having a certain gross profit. That Apple is contending for being a sales leader in phones is due to the leveling affect carriers have. That Apple led the tablets market was a matter of them simply being first. Now it's a matter of keeping what % they can of it.

Hopefully Apple keeps in mind what business it's in. I don't want them to keep chasing things in hoping it's the next iphone especially if it's way outside the realm of computers & mobile. Jobs was good at saying no. If anything, Apple (Cook) has to do a better job managing expectations or basically marketing itself better along with PR (I've said this repeatedly in the past). Didn't some of the tech blogs finally start seeing the light recently when it comes to Amazon??

Rene Ritchie says:

What if it is true? How did the stock perform under Jobs? It went up and down, to the point some wanted Jobs gone, or at least a successor named.

There's no fractal difference between Cook's tenure so far and Jobs'. Think Jobs gave a rats ass about the stock price?

"Take care of the top line and the bottom line will take care of itself" is a saying that originated under Jobs, not Cook.

Wall Street has little sanity, and even less recall.

cardfan says:

What if it is true? To make sure we're on the same page, I meant that in the sense of Apple's Board complaining Apple isn't innovating fast enough. And that's something of a myth that Apple has worked hard to dispel. If true, then this Board isn't doing them any favors and has been out to lunch the last decade. To be clear, I firmly believe Apple is innovative, has been, continues to be with iOS 7, and this complaint in itself is just stupid.

I don't care about stock price. That's just the result of weary investors. But these weary investors exist for all companies so it becomes a problem in that Apple isn't managing expectations for their stakeholders very well. Jobs didn't either, but he was Jobs and carried his legendary aura around with him. Cook doesn't have that halo.

The stock bounced down to earth. No shame in that. Where do we go from here is the only concern they should have. Slow growth is what Apple should be eying. Those days of their stock rising too fast are gone and shouldn't be wanted back.

Apple is doing amazing as has Cook performance wise. It's just that they need to present their case better.

Do I think Jobs cared about stock price? Of course he did. As Apple does. I'm sure the higher ups continue to be mystified over there at what more they can do. Setting record profits won't do it. Having billions in the bank isn't doing it.

As far as I'm concerned the CEO is nothing more than someone who has the ability to enthrall people. Charismatic. A salesman who understands what the company and marketplace is about. This was Jobs. In this respect, Cook is none of the above. Of course, that's been the concern from the beginning.

I've no doubt whatsoever that a replacement CEO at Apple would have no effect on performance. Apple is run like a machine. Cook could go back to doing what he does best and managing supply chains. But a more seasoned, more passionate sounding, charismatic CEO could do wonders for them.

FYI, the guy that did the Mavericks presentation? He's great. He held my attention. His excitement was contagious.

bitrate says:

Kinda feel the same way. Just looking at the iPhone line.. the iPhone 4 was 'Wow'. No other phone even came close. That was, what, June 2010? The iPhone has largely stayed the same since then, minus some incremental hardware upgrades and design tweaks. Other phones now rival and even outmatch the iPhone in functionality (Moto X), design (HTC One), and UI (Windows Phone).
They need more than Siri, an extra row of icons, and a fresh coat of paint on the UI (I know that's oversimplifying it a bit...)

mitsuyager9 says:

Wow reasonable down to earth comment, down at the veryyyy bottom.

JMorBRS says:

Losing billions of dollars is going to make any board nervous, and upset shareholders. Whether the losses are really justified or if the crazy gains they made up until late last year were justified is the question. None of the big companies are innovating right now. Bigger screens, spec bumps and more megapixels aren't innovation - they're just numbers. But SJ clearly had a vision for Apple - refining product segments that didn't have a clear vision , make them accessible and use great marketing. Not sure if TC shares that vision. ...

tomorrowville says:

The iPod came out in 2001. The iPhone came out in 2007. The iPad in 2010. Jobs was allowed 3-6 years between landmark products, but people freak out when Cook hasn't managed the same in <2 years despite making money hand over fist in the meantime (which funds future landmark products)? What sense does that make?

birdman_38 says:

It's a much more competitive landscape compared to back then.

Moeskido says:

What Charlie Gasparino actually meant to write was that Apple Press Relations had told him he wasn't allowed to speak directly to anyone on Apple's "Board now," or ever.

shemoanscazrex3 says:

The thing I hate about this is that people aren't thinking. Steve Jobs last innovation was the iPad. That was 2010 before that the iPhone in 2007 and before that the iPod in 2001. Steve came back to apple in 97. So we can say on average it takes apple a little over four years to come out with something new. So I think we should give Tim sometime.
If this is about the stocks, well it's still higher than what Steve ever accomplished.

manand_nz says:

I love Apple and its ecosystem.
Couldn't care less about the stock market and its vagaries.

However my gripe is with engineering - design amalgamation and decision making.

There's been known issues with the home button and the vibrator motor, my good as new iphone 4s included (which btw ill need to pay to get it checked as its been over a yr).

8 out of 10 people would've liked the width of the iPhone 5 to at least accommodate one more column of app icons. Arguably boring design.

Slow implementation of useful features in iOS, that cannot be attributed to lack of technology but lack of design.

If a common man can make out oddities in such a design and its not too much to expect Apple to get important things right, then one can't help but question the leadership.

Sent from the iMore App

jsouza99 says:

I want Apple products to work flawlessly. I'll wait for the team at Apple to GET IT RIGHT before releasing products to the public. It is incredibly hard to get a complex piece of hardware and its incredibly complex software to work flawlessly. I have no complaints about Apple's pace of new product development.

kilcher says:

File this under "Duh." This would only be news if he WASN'T being pressured to innovate faster. It's especially true in the tech world but if you want to be successful you should always be innovating - regardless of whether you're running Apple or a lemonade stand.

I just hope they're not relying on the iWatch to be the next big thing. I would really like to see them focus on a cable box / GUI. There's a lot of room for improvement there. Ideally I'd like to see them buy TiVo, integrate the iTunes store, and overhaul the GUI. :)

Seabassthegreat says:

You lost me at fox business network

I got a good chuckle out of that

Just saying

(Clever comments btw)

yosemite steve says:

Why shoot the messenger? Charlie Gasperino is just a business reporter who’s worked for CNBC and FOX for many years. His reports are pretty solid, but like all business reporters he’s 60% correct :)

Tim Cook is doing a good job at fixing the supply chain by things like reducing Apple’s dependence on Samsung. He’s likely working on a killer phone or China. He’s also getting a complete ecosystem overhaul with IOS7, that moves into cars and more into the living room(TVs). Great solutions for the 99%. Not bad.

He’s not doing well rolling out product and he’s being beaten by Google showing innovation. Apple needs something as flashy as Google Glass, or something just done right like the iPod and iPhone were at release. Where’s the Apple reality distortion field? Maybe TV or ???

Tim is only one side of the equation. Apple needs a driven visionary like Steve Jobs or possibly two. I think the board has a point. Apple continues to make $$$$$ and great products. If Apple can innovate without Jobs, Apple could grow even faster than when he was at the helm.