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Apple's Evolution Under the Leadership of Tim Cook

Back in November, The Wall Street Journal took a look at how Tim Cook was putting his stamp on Apple just two months after officially being elevated to the position on Chief Executive Officer. But with Cook now having been on the job for nine months, Fortune examines in a lengthy profile how the company and its culture have continued to evolve under his leadership.
A 14-year veteran of the company, Cook is maintaining, by words and actions, most of Apple's unique corporate culture. But shifts of behavior and tone are absolutely apparent; some of them affect the core of Apple's critical product-development process. In general, Apple has become slightly more open and considerably more corporate. In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It's almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long-overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy.
Calling Tim Cook "the master of operational efficiency", the report notes that Cook continues to spur Apple to both streamline and innovate with its manufacturing processes, bankrolling purchases of equipment and other infrastructure with its own money to allow its supply chain and assembly partners to improve efficiency and output.


But that operational efficiency has led to the belief that Apple is becoming more traditional and conservative, becoming an "execution engine" driven by business-oriented managers with MBAs and less dependent on its design and technical expertise to lead the way.
It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine," says Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011. "I've been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management," he says. "When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority."
The entire profile is an interesting look at how Apple is changing under Tim Cook, also highlighting his own evolution in becoming the face of Apple and how he differs from Steve Jobs, from his quiet nature to his willingness to listen to investors to sitting down to eat with random employees in the Apple cafeteria.

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
I don't understand the negativity towards Tim. He's not Steve. Never was, and never will be. I'm glad he has started changing things up a little bit. He has done nothing to negatively impact the company so to complain about changes seem unwarranted.
Rating: 35 Votes
33 months ago

and what has been released in the days post-Jobs ?? a re-hashed iPad2 ...

WWDC = Make or break for shareholders ( i.e something HUGE simply has to happen )

just my 2 cents ....


So if Apple doesn't release something that impresses YOU at WWDC, you are declaring that Apple's run at the top of the consumer electronics world is over.

OK then.
Rating: 25 Votes
33 months ago
Comparisons to the past are hard because it's almost impossible to visualize just how much Apple has grown.

Are new things different because Cook is in charge? Or are they different because Apple is so incredibly larger than it used to be? With that kind of growth certain things would have to change no matter who was in charge. It's hard to separate the peanut butter from the jelly sometimes.
Rating: 21 Votes
33 months ago
On one hand it sounds all good, but on the other hand, the added hierarchy of decisions at the meetings reminds me of what I've heard by exworkers from a certain competitor with a stagnant stock that aren't doing nearly as well as Apple these days. :\ Hopefully it's not quite as bad as over there though. People have left the company for it.
Rating: 20 Votes
33 months ago
Apple's Cooked.
Rating: 20 Votes
33 months ago
It's just too soon.

Apple is still going under SJ guidelines. Tim Cook's decisions will start counting in the near future, but not just yet.
Rating: 19 Votes
33 months ago
You can tell it is more about sales than inspiration. Apple was jobs company, and Cook is an employee.
Rating: 18 Votes
33 months ago
Now that Tim Cook is CEO, not only will the complaining about every new product continue, we'll also get the "Apple is going downhill without Steve!" comments as people conveniently forget that there was just as much complaining under Steve.

"just a re-hashed iPad 2"

Yeah, because nobody complained about the iPhone 3GS being a "rehashed iPhone 3G" when it was Steve in charge. :rolleyes:
Rating: 14 Votes
33 months ago
I'm happy for the changes. Steve Jobs was a brilliant visionary, but he was also a mean asshole who didn't listen to anybody, including customers.

Frankly, to say that Apple meetings were previously led by engineers is something of a lie. They were led by *design* engineers, but the way Apple has often cheated end-users on tech, it means that other types of engineers couldn't have been in charge.

In my youth, I wanted to own a Sun or Silicon Graphics workstation. I was poor, so that was out of the question. Then along came OS X. Finally, regular people could afford a powerful UNIX workstation (I cut my teeth on SunOS and Solaris, e.g., BSD UNIX, so GNU/Linux would just not do). Over time, Apple moved away from providing powerful scientific/engineering computing devices, and shifted it's focus to portable consumer products.

I pray that someday, maybe not now, but within the next five years, Apple gets back to providing tools that professionals in the scientific, engineering, and other specialized technical fields can be proud of. It certainly would not have happened under Steve Jobs' watch, as he had thrown us under the bus and then driven over our bodies multiple times. Maybe Tim Cook will throw us a lifeline.
Rating: 14 Votes
33 months ago

"I've been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management," he says. "When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority."


I don't think that has much to do with Cook. Apple has gotten so big and ships so many devices you have to included those people. Logistics is of major importance to Apple.
Rating: 13 Votes

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