Tim Cook: Year One

Tim Cook: Year One

Tim Cook became CEO of Apple one year ago yesterday, following the retirement of Steve Jobs. A soft-spoken, measured, methodical gentleman from the South, he'd been Apple's COO for years, and ran the company on several occasions during Steve Jobs' medical leaves of absence. A logistical and supply-chain genius, he took Apple from being better if more expensive, to much better at prices the competition couldn't begin to match. He helped take Apple from a computer company with a small if premium market share to a consumer electronic juggernaut that could launch products across the world at an unbelievable pace.

As CEO, over the course of the last year, Tim Cook's Apple launched the iPhone 4S, the new iPad, and the Retina MacBook Pro. They released OS X Mountain Lion and previewed iOS 6. They held the Lets Talk iPhone, the Education event, the See and Touch event, and WWDC 2012.

Cook was named one of Time's 100 most influential people. He went to Washington and to China. He spoke to Goldman Sachs and spoke at and the D10 Conference. He announced Apple would begin a new charitable matching program for employees.

He dealt with accusations over Chinese working conditions, and the odd attention of the New York Times.

They lost Steve Jobs, who co-founded the company and, through single act of will, made Apple and a part of our culture what it is today. But they've kept his legacy very much alive.

Apple's had record breaking quarter after record breaking quarter and won a $1 billion dollar verdict against Samsung.

It was a momentous year by any standards, and it was only Tim Cook's first.

Here's to year two.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Tim Cook: Year One


Completely agree Tim did a great job on execution part. I still feel most of the new releases they did after Steve stepped down had flair of Steve in them. The question remains whether apple can produce ground breaking designs and innovations few years down the lane !!!

You should also mention his near-immediate reinstitution of Apple's charitable matching program that Jobs killed in 97 - a decision remarkable not only because it was the right thing to do, but because it let everybody know right away that Cook would not run the company as a clone of his late mentor, but as his own man.

Good point, although Cook said at the D10 conference that the matching program was begun again under Jobs' tenure (though it's not hard to imagine Cook drove it either way.)

Good point, although Cook said at the D10 conference that the matching program was begun again under Jobs' tenure (though it's not hard to imagine Cook drove it either way.)

He has performed very well in more ways than one: think of the tremendous pressure (not included in the Apple CEO Job Description, I'm assuming) that came upon him as the world set its eyes on him to see "what would happen to Apple" after he officially put on Job's shoes...especially after Job's passing. It's looking like that it could very appropriately be said that Jobs (and/or whoever makes the appointments) picked the right man....

My 2 cents...

I give Tim Cook enormous credit for his time as COO. He certainly made Apple what it is currently while Steve Jobs acted as spokesperson & sales chief/evangelist. But I think it's probably too soon to give Tim Cook credit for any real achievements as CEO. Most of what's going on right now screams Steve Jobs was here. I'd surmise that if the current trends continue that in 3-4 yrs you can say that Apple fully has Tim Cook's fingerprints all over it. That will be about the time that Steve Jobs will be nothing more than a statue outside the headquarters.

I'm not trying to dismiss the man or take anything away from him. Quite the contrary. I'm just looking at how Apple has been so identified & tied to Steve Jobs since 1997 that it'll take some time to exercise his ghost. When that time comes we can take a look at Tim Cook the CEO & better assess his tenure.

An apt comparison can be to look at Microsoft after Bill Gates left. Steve Balmer, while overseeing a nice dependable cash machine, has been a milk toast CEO that has let the company stagnate. Wal Mart on the other hand after the passing of Sam Walton, has done the exact opposite & continued to grow into the world's largest & most successful retailer. Those 2 companies were heavily connected & identified by their founders/CEOs. Much like Apple & Steve Jobs are still, Tim Cook is still in Steve's chair. So to speak anyway.

Well said. I guess I was looking his first year's performance in comparison to an extreme opposite: Mr. Apothekar, formerly of HP.

If you compare Cook to Apothekar, Cook is the second coming. If you compare Cook to Jobs, no, I'm sorry but he hasn't amazed me yet. He's going to have to do a lot more than a "retina screen everywhere" strategy to impress me. All of the products he released last year and this year have Jobs finger prints all over them. If the iPhone 5 is more than an iPhone 4 rehash and Apple actually releases an iPad mini and they are actually impressive and not just Retina Screen everywhere tech, that's a start. Winning the lawsuit against Samsung was impressive. Now let's see some innovation that doesn't involve the legal department.

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