Former Microsoft exec calls Tim Cook an 'administrator' not visionary leader

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Rogifan, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    Saw this article on ZDNET wondering if Tim Cook is no more than an 'administrator' of Apple. The question is based on an article former Microsoft exec Bob Herbold wrote on Forbes website.

    I think it's a fair question to wonder if Cook is a visionary or just someone who makes sure the trains run on time. The problem I have is what do these people think Apple would have done in the past year and a half if Steve was still alive? Would they have released a 5 inch teardrop iPhone 5? Not released an iPad mini or if they did, one with a retina display? Would the iMacs have kept the optical drive or would we have touch screen Macs? Would Apple TV, "iWatch" or a streaming music service be a reality? Would maps have not been released or released but without all the errors? Would iOS 6 have had widgets or live tiles or "real multitasking"? Would the iPad support a digitizer, user accounts and allow for apps to be run side by side?

    People who claim Apple is doomed without Steve, Apple doesn't innovate, Cook is just a numbers guy etc. never explain what Apple would have done differently in the past year or so if Steve were still running the show. And at the same time claim everything that's been released since Steve's death was part of a product roadmap he signed off on prior to his death. I'd love to know all these great things we would have received from Apple last year if Steve was still around.
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
  3. vrDrew macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Its a fair question - but as you note, this guy seems to have answered it (in the negative) before we've seen enough product release cycles to really know for sure.

    Lets get one thing perfectly clear: As great a product visionary as Steve Jobs was, he didn't have a 1000 batting average either. Lest I remind anyone of the PowerMac G4 Cube, the Lisa, the 20th Anniversary Macintosh, MobileMe, etc. etc.

    One thing I do think Apple is continuing to do pretty well is keep its cards close to its chest. Is Apple going to revolutionize technology via an iWatch, some new take on a television set, or something that hasn't even popped up on the radar yet?

    Another thing I feel pretty confident about is that Apple hasn't lost the cultural lessons it learned during its rebirth. That true business success can only come about by paradigm-changing products. And that paradigm-changing products certainly don't seem that way when they were first introduced. (Look at all the snark that greeted the iPad "an overgrown iPod Touch")

    Trouble is - paradigm shifting products are hard to create. Doing so takes not only world-class engineering and manufacturing expertise, but also a far greater insight into the way real-world consumers see and use their products. Steve Jobs had this - but even his case was far from perfect: He famously resisted the ability to put third-party Apps onto the iPhone at first. But he also had the flexibility to recognize the opportunity that ceding this little bit of control would give Apple.

    Tim Cook has demonstrated a couple of very clear leadership qualities during his tenure: One, recognize when he's made a mistake - and relieving John Bowman of retail operations. Two, get out front of a problem: As in this response to the media reports of bad working conditions in Apple's asian suppliers.

    Those two things don't prove he is a "visionary" - but they hardly count against him.

    Stay tuned. I'd bet Apple has a few very impressive surprises coming for us in the next few months.
  4. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    Leander Kahney has a book on Jony Ive coming out later the year and he says he got to interview a number of current and former employees. I think the book will be intersting because Kahney hinted that the employees he spoke to told a different story than what is public knowledge. Definitely gave the impression that the notion of Steve dreaming up all these products by himself was not the way it happened at all.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I never thought that Steve was the one who came up with devices, he had a hand in the design, direction and implementation but to be honest I don't think he was the one that had the idea for the device, whether its the iPod, iPhone, iTunes (which was soundjam purchased by apple) or the iMac.
  6. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    Absolutely. I don't think Tim would disagree either.
  7. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    I can imagine what they wouldn't have done if Jobs was still there

    They wouldn't have ruined the product release cycle to the point your purchase becomes less valuable due to an unpredictable refresh. They wouldn't have reacted to MS by throwing a 128 GB iPad at consumers (under Jobs something like that would've been an option in the next product cycle, unveiled at WWDC). They probably wouldn't have created a 7 inch tablet to cannibalize 9 inch tablet sales and blur the gap between the Premium market that they owned and the budget market owned by other mfg's. They also probably wouldn't be going after the budget phone market for fear of brand erosion, even though there's a lot of money to be made there.

    Pretty much anything that could lead to brand erosion they wouldn't have done because Jobs was against Apple products becoming commodities. Even something like adding another color to the iPhone took a long time under him for branding reasons.

    I'm also pretty sure they'd also be pushing more for a TV revolution than a watch revolution.

    A lot of Cook's decisions make good financial sense but the difference is he's chasing money in existing markets or trying to maintain momentum. Steve Jobs would blow up markets or create them. But who knows, if that watch becomes a hit, Cook will be redeemed. Personally I don't get it though
  8. Mal67 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2006
    West Oz
    I for one am glad that someone in Apple wanted a 128g version out there and I wish the smaller ipad had of been released a lot earlier than it was because I think the ipad as it is is too large and I would have got one in a flash. Consumerism or not sales of the mini have justified this release. Now they have to design the the bigger ipad to be lighter and easier to handle.
  9. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2010
    His title is chief executive...not chief visionary or chief designer. By design a CEO is supposed to be an administrator of a business. They have product and service development guys for the "visionary" stuff.
  10. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Jobs was a lot of things, a terrible boss, an @$$hole, a jerk that denied his first child because he wasn't ready to be a father, berated her mother trying to paint her as a typical whore, publicly upbraided employees, stole ideas and claimed them as his own, a hypocrite that bashed Microsoft for "stealing" the idea of a GUI when they stole it from xerox (as gates said "that's like me breaking into a house to steal something then finding that you already stole it", he was a bad hygiene disgusting mental case, with a hell of a business mind and a gift for making an underpowered under featured device sell like 2 dollar crack.

    Not to be worshiped, but Tim Cook is no jobs
  11. thekev macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    I'm genuinely curious, did you ever believe this was the case? I know they liked to project that kind of image. It allow for interesting marketing. Now that he is no longer alive, it makes less sense for someone else to try to project such a personality. Doing so would just feed the tendency to compare the presentation skills of the guy in charge now to the one that people people remember in a nostalgic sense. I don't see how he could ever win that battle.
  12. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
  13. irDigital0l Guest

    Dec 7, 2010
    Even Steve Jobs knew that.

    He wanted someone to run Apple how its has been run.

    Ideas will come from the other thousands of people working at Apple.

    It makes sense.
  14. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Like anyone would believe that in the first place. Steve knew how to make products simple and comfortable for people to use. He also knew what consumers wanted. He didn't spend his lifetime in a chair dreaming up technologies. The technologies already existed, he just found ways of making them more practical and consumer friendly.
  15. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    The example Kahney gave was the iMac G4. Basically that the story in Isaacson' book about Jobs summoning Ive to his garden and telling him what he wanted the computer to look like was all marketing BS.


    Me? Of course not. But it's certainly a meme the media is pushing. That's why we keep hearing ad nauseum that Apple's doomed, out of ideas, because Steve's gone. I don't agree with it at all. My guess is this book about Ive will contradict some of the stuff in Walter Isaacson's book. We'll get the real story from current/former employees. Isaacson's book was basically Steve's version of things.
  16. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    Isn't that something they did all the time? They did it with the first iPhone, the did it with iPods, why wouldn't they do it with the ipad too?
  17. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    There is nothing visionary about Tim Cook.. He is a business executive, Jobs was the visionary and innovator. If anything Tim Cook is typical of those older style IBM Big Blue guys.. His keynotes are boring and he does not have Steve Job's charisma or charm.

    Oh, and there is just one more thing... He doesn't even mention that either and I notice he does not smile much on stage.. A visionary? Hardly.. nothing can be further from the truth.. While he is good for Apple as its CEO in a business setting, he will never be a Steve Paul Jobs.

    Sorry, but I flat out disagree that Cook is a visionary.. Was Bill Gates a visionary???
  18. GermanyChris, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013

    GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Yes he was, he was writing software for homebrew computers while Woz and Jobs were trying to figure theirs out. Simply put without Bill Gates we wouldn't have the computer we have today. The same could not be said about Apple.
  19. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    Oh, I know Bill Gates was a visionary... otherwise we wouldn't have all those anti-windows campaigns from Apple? I really think Apple and Microsoft took their ideas from Xerox who left the door open all the time.. Whether Bill stole anything from Steve and or Steve stole from Bill.. I will never really know.

    Yes, there are similarities between Apples' OS and Microsoft Windows, but I wouldn't go that far to consider it theft.

  20. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    in the 70's basic was it..Forget GUI or PARC. If you built/bought a computer in the mid '70's it ran basic. By the early 80's when I was a youngster the division had happened.
  21. tekboi macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2006
    New Orleans ✈ WesŦward
    He's right. we all know the visionary leader DIED in 2011...
  22. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Lol @ jobs being an innovator.

    He ripped off other people's stuff and even stole ideas from his own staff and claimed them as his own.

    And this is from HIS BOOK!
  23. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Yup. No matter what you think of MS, or how well they're doing now, it's hard to deny the fact they were the ones who first put a PC in just about every home across America. They were one of the major reasons why the computer revolution was such a widespread success.

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