Phil Schiller: Apple's new "Dr. No"
Phil Schiller is Apple's Senior Vice President of Product Marketing, but by all accounts his role in that job is as unconventional as Apple itself. Businessweek has delved into that -- as much as they could absent cooperation from Schiller or Apple -- and paints a picture of man who, in many ways, is very different than Steve Jobs yet who embodies many of his principles and visions.
Fairly or not, Schiller and other Apple executives are being measured against their former boss. Superficially, the two men had little in common. Jobs had no interest in sports; Schiller is a rabid hockey fan. Jobs eschewed public displays of wealth; Schiller collects high-priced sports cars and has kept miniature replicas of some in his office. Yet in business, Schiller channeled Jobs’s perspective so consistently that he was known within Apple as Mini-Me. He found the nickname flattering and kept a cutout of the Austin Powers character in his office. Like Jobs, he is ruthlessly disciplined when it comes to choosing new products or features, which has yielded another nickname: Dr. No, for his penchant to shoot down ideas, according to one former manager.
Movie allusions aside, Businessweek paints Schiller as a fierce defender of Apple who goes on the offensive when it comes to things like curating the App Store, and keeping it "free of porn". They also cast him as controlling yet without Jobs' flare, and suggest he hasn't handled Apple's $1 billion dollar ad budget well, post-Jobs. Specifically, they point to the recent celebrity Siri ads as falling flat.
But Phil Schiller isn't Steve Jobs any more than Tim Cook is. And he's not singularly responsible for Apple's past, present, or future success any more than Cook or even Jobs were.
Apple may have had the best lead in the world, but they've always been a band, not a solo act.
Of course, a new version of so iconic a band will always weighed against the originals, but ultimately their music has to stand or fall on its own.
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