Tim Cook’s Wondrous Decade at Apple (without Steve Jobs)

WashingtonTim Cook, in his first interview as Apple’s chief executive after Steve Jobs’ death, confessed an anecdote from his latest conversations with the company’s founder and visionary. “One of the things he did for me, that took a gigantic weight off my shoulders that I would have normally had, was tell me a couple of times before he died never to ask me what he would have done. To never ask me, ‘What would he have done? What would Steve have done?

It is an idea that he repeated barely a year ago, shortly before reaching the first decade at the helm of the Cupertino company: “I have never tried to fill his shoes, neither on the first day nor on the tenth year. I have always thought that I could not. fill nobody, “he said in an interview to People.

And said and done. Under Tim Cook, Apple has probably lost its ability to revolutionize, but it has gained business strength. The value of the stock, when Steve Jobs left the company before he died, was $ 15. Ten years later, it exceeds $ 172, that is, it has multiplied by eleven. Jobs had a privileged mind, a vision of the future capable of changing paradigms in areas such as music with the iPod, mobile telephony with the iPhone – the first generation was introduced on January 9, 2007, now fifteen years ago – or even the entertainment with the iPad. Cook doesn’t have this look ahead of his time, but he’s still turned Apple into an unstoppable ocean liner.

A week ago, the Cupertino company surpassed $ 3 trillion in market valuation for the first time, the first company to do so in history. It has been a meteoric race: driven by the success of the iPhone, it reached a trillion dollar valuation in August 2018. Two years later it was already over 2 trillion. In one more year it has reached 3 billion.

If it were a country, it would be the fifth country in wealth, only surpassed by Germany, Japan, China and the United States. The sum of the Spanish and Canadian GDP does not reach the value of Apple. In business benchmarks: When it hit the $ 3 trillion peak, Apple was worth more than Walmart, Disney, Netflix, Exxon, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Morgan Stanley, McDonald’s, AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, IBM and Ford combined.

Some experts point out that the arrival of the 3 trillion could be a bit artificial. William Lazonick, an economist at the University of Massachusetts, points out that one of Apple’s tactics with the huge amount of cash it generates is to buy shares in his company with a double effect: it makes less available and, incidentally, makes may its value increase. “It is impossible to know if (the 3 trillion valuation) is due to speculation, manipulation or innovation,” he explains.

Be that as it may, they are astronomical figures unthinkable a decade ago, when Jobs left the leadership of Apple and died a few months later. Since Cook’s arrival at the helm, no one can doubt that Apple has had the best decade in its history, at least on an economic scale.

A surprise event in a company that in 1997, threatened by Microsoft’s advancement and its dominance in the personal computing market, was 90 days away from bankruptcy. According to documents from the company itself, in the last decade Apple’s shares have risen by 1,100%.

The death of Jobs heralded a dark future for Apple. Skeptics doubted that Cook, with a background at IBM and Compaq, could hold up to the company’s run. The lack of new revolutionary inventions in the early days made one foresee the worst. Cook might have all the technical knowledge, but he lacked charisma.

“Tim may not be capable of designing a product like Steve,” said Warren Buffett a few years ago, who through his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway has a billion-dollar stake in Apple, “but he understands the world at the level of few CEOs I have met in the last 60 years. “

The accolade fits in with Apple’s takeoff. The arrival of Cook has served to take a company with great commitment and identification by users to the next level, even if it is applying some strategies rejected by Jobs. Perhaps it no longer has the capacity for innovation that it used to, but it has a wide catalog, with several models of each product; a fact that the founder of Apple resisted, who preferred a specific fan. Now Apple not only has great products, but also has huge benefits thanks to accessories like the Apple Watch, and has entered the world of services with audiovisual production or the first entry into banking with Apple Pay.

Produce cheaper

The application of financial discipline and the search for minimum costs and maximum benefits, even if it implies a great dependence on factories in China, India or Vietnam – this is, without any doubt, Cook’s great hallmark at Apple – compensate with a spirit that navigates dodging storms through diplomatic and power waters.

“Defying all expectations, Apple is enjoying unprecedented levels of success under Tim Cook’s leadership, and it looks like it has a bright future,” writes Leander Kahney, author of the book. Tim Cook, the genious who took Apple to the next level.

Tim Cook’s hand is inalienable from today’s Apple. When Donald Trump was still president, the moment in which he mistakenly called him “Tim Apple” became famous, mixing name and company into a single entity. Trump, unable to take the oversight, said he had shortened it to “save time.” Seen in perspective, right now it is impossible to decouple the moment that the company lives from the leadership of its CEO.

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Tim Cook’s Wondrous Decade at Apple (without Steve Jobs)