Bloomberg: Jeff Williams is Second-Most Important Person at Apple, Operates Similar to Tim Cook

Last month, Apple announced that Jony Ive will be leaving Apple later this year to form an independent design company, with Apple among its primary clients. In turn, Apple indicated that its operations chief Jeff Williams will spend more of his time working with its design team in their studio.


Williams has long been considered a frontrunner to succeed Tim Cook as CEO of Apple, and with his expanded design-related oversight at Apple, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes he is "unambiguously the second-most important person at Apple" and first in line to succeed Cook when the time comes.

In line with his calm demeanor on stage at Apple events, Gurman notes that Williams has over the years distinguished himself as a modest, disciplined, and demanding leader, much more like Cook than Steve Jobs.

From the report:

"He's the closest thing at the company to ‌Tim Cook‌, and you'll get more of that," a former senior Apple executive says of Williams. "If you think Cook is doing a good job, then it's a good choice."

Williams is considered to be slightly more hands-on with product development than Cook, however, as evidenced by his leadership of the Apple Watch team since its inception. Williams is also said to attend weekly reviews of product and industrial design progress and brief Cook on the discussions.

Gurman:

Williams now oversees the development of all Apple hardware products, holding weekly meetings to gauge their progress. Although the process is formally called NPR, or New Product Review, some employees call this the "Jeff Review." During the development of the AirPods, some of them noticed that Williams continued wearing Apple's wired headphones instead of the new product. Williams wasn't yet happy with the fit of the wireless model.

The big question mark with Ive's impending departure is whether Apple will remain innovative. Critics will argue that Apple has already become complacent under Cook, and with Williams having a similar operations-focused approach, the narrative is that Apple might falter without a Jobs-era visionary.

From the report:

"One doesn't necessarily need a visionary as CEO of Apple as long as there's a visionary in the company that the CEO can work with," says Michael Gartenberg, a former Apple marketing executive. "‌Tim Cook‌ had Jony Ive. The question is, with Ive gone, who is the visionary at the company that can guide the next big thing?"

Depending on how involved Ive remains with Apple through his independent design firm, that might not be a concern for several more years to come. Apple has also more than doubled its market value under Cook, so any concerns that Apple has fallen behind in the post-Jobs era are arguably overblown.

It's worth noting that there is no sign that Cook plans to step down any time soon. Williams, 56, is also less than three years younger than Cook.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
9 months ago
Apple is now an operations company...not an innovation company. It's clear it's all about efficiency and margin. Sad.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
Equivalent to stacking the top of Xerox with toner heads.

[MEDIA=youtube]h1orCiYdwyo[/MEDIA]
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
“One doesn't necessarily need a visionary as CEO of Apple as long as there's a visionary in the company that the CEO can work with”

That quote scare me.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago



Apple has also more than doubled its market value under Cook, so any concerns that Apple has fallen behind in the post-Jobs era are arguably overblown.


Just because Apple doubles its market value it doesn’t mean that the products have been great during that period or that Apple has not fallen behind.

I believe Tim Cook especially in the last few years with the price hikes has really ridden his luck with the Apple faithful and how much they are willing to be taken for a ride. In my case I have loved Apple for many years and each purchase was an emotional purchase partly based on my love of the history of the company and how great Steve Jobs was in showing his genuine passion for a product he believed in. Given so much passion some misgivings have been forgiven, like the iPhone 4 antenna for example. I have continued purchasing the products through the price hikes in the Tim Cook era in hope that eventually prices would come down to a reasonable level again and that products would improve.

However I have come to realise my emotional attachment to the company and its products are waning, with Tim Cook sticking two fingers up to the consumer with absurd price hikes every year. I mean an iPhone price jump of £400 in one year (iPhone 7 to X) is absolutely absurd. The whole product line up is stale and loaded with proprietary upgrades which they also charge obscene amounts for. Jony Ive is leaving and an operations guy is being placed in charge of design, people should be worried the direction Apple is heading.

There is nobody on the leadership team at Apple that has any charisma about them, bar Craig Federighi perhaps. They are just a bunch of boring suits and I hope it doesn’t happen but eventually I believe that Apple will just be another boring company churning out run of the mill products.

The cult of Apple is officially dying.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago

Apple is such a massive company; to different from the good old days...
To think that there will ever be another Steve Jobs running the company is naive - or even believing that there will ever be someone like Steve in the world again is naive.

The most realistic thing to hope for is that Jeff loves products (both technically and visually) and will fill the part that Apple arguably has been missing the past years: Steves ability to execute and oversee development/innovation.
Jeff could be the “product guy” that Tim obviously isn’t.

The design team will definitely handle the Ive-part of designing beautiful products with great attention to detail. Ive has without a doubt built an incredible team.

I mean, I've seen no evidence of Williams being a "product guy." This is based on his appearances during Apple events, so small size and probably not fair. BUT...

Go back and watch some of the old Jobs' product announcements. You can tell he just loves the stuff. He thinks what he's talking about is just the coolest stuff in the world. He's following a script, but he clearly doesn't need it. This is a guy who can talk all day about how cover flow is probably the greatest thing ever invented and how Apple Greeting Cards (remember those) are going to revolutionize communication. Neither of those things were accurate (although I personally miss coverflow), but it was nice to see genuine enthusiasm. Such joy.

Contrast that to the people today, including Williams. They are rushing on stage with a script, glassy eyed and there is zero evidence they love the stuff. Any excitement is manufactured and built into the script (e.g., "I can be the first to show you the amazing new TouchBar." Lol--get the **** out).

They're all terrible. Even Craig, although fun, doesn't really show that adoration for the things he's talking about. Phil neither. Cook is just a robot.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
9 months ago
The "not innovative" line is so wrong. They are not in the business of turning out new products every 6 months that are on the cutting edge. You can't make up products out of thin air nor do you want to pull a Samsung and deliver products that burn up or incomplete, untested products such as the folding phone. First to market rarely is memorable. They have turned out the best smartwatch, the best wireless EarPods, quick updates to the entire computer line and a Pro machine aimed at Pros, not just those who are not or who are dreamers. No one knows what is in the pipeline so to speculate is a waste of time. No question they were late to the smart speaker market and probably should have bought Sonos.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...