Tim Cook's View of the Apple Philosophy
In the Q&A section of yesterday's earnings conference call, the first question unsurprisingly addressed Steve Jobs' leave of absence and how that would affect the way Apple is being run. Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer noted that Jobs remains CEO and that he will continue to be involved in strategic decisions. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who is overseeing Apple's day-to-day operations during Jobs' absence, then took the opportunity to share his perspective on Apple's company philosophy.
There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call "all wicked smart". And that's in all areas of the company, from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched.
We believe that we're on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that's not changing. We're constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
Fortune's Adam Lashinsky examines what he is calling the "Cook Doctrine" as a unique look into the mind of Tim Cook, who was previously profiled by Lashinsky as "intensely private" and "demanding and unemotional."
This is fascinating at a number of levels. Some of it is stuff you'd expect from anyone in Apple's senior management. Some ideas have been articulated at Apple for years. But this shows an executive who has given tons of thought to what it means to lead Apple. He couldn't have been clearer that he's in charge, at least for now. It also was a show of strength, as when Cook later threatened Palm (PALM) with patent litigation.
It raised so many questions too. Other than the company's proprietary operating systems, what technologies was Cook referring to? What are some projects Apple has considered and rejected? When has the company been wrong -- and been "self-honest" about it? What's an example of the culture being so embedded that things work, even when Jobs isn't involved?
Lashinsky notes that much of Apple's talent has been overshadowed by Steve Jobs over the years, and it is only now in Jobs' absence that some of these executives will be able to receive significant media exposure, attention that is revealing Cook to be "eloquent, forceful and passionate about Apple."