Apple CEO Tim Cook has long been one of Steve Jobs’ most trusted associates. For years, he was content to live in Jobs’ shadow while making the company’s supply chain the best in the business. But Jobs has moved on from being Apple’s CEO to becoming its chairman, and it’s now Cook’s job to lead the iPhone maker. Attention will naturally turn to Cook, and questions will be raised about where he will take Apple.
At Apple’s Oct. 4 iPhone event, Cook will likely take the wraps off who he is as an executive and what he might have planned for the company’s future. He might not discuss Apple’s future product plans, but he will undoubtedly provide a glimpse into what he believes will help Apple continue to succeed and, perhaps most importantly, how he plans to run the company for the foreseeable future.
But before Cook takes the stage at the iPhone event, it might be a good idea to provide a little cheat sheet on what folks can expect from Apple’s CEO both at the iPhone event and at any point during his tenure as top executive.
Read on to find out what Cook brings to the table:
1. Little, if any, strategy shifts
Soon after Jobs announced that he would no longer be CEO of Apple, Cook reportedly sent a memo to employees indicating that “Apple is not going to change.” He didn’t provide too many details about his plans for the company, but if the memo is to be one’s guide, Apple will stay the way it is indefinitely.
2. A keen eye for profit margins
As Apple COO, Cook was in charge of managing the company’s huge supply chain. And in that capacity, he did an exceptional job. In fact, Apple’s supply chain is widely considered the best in the business. It’s the main reason the iPhone maker has been able to get so much hardware to store shelves at costs that help it produce record-breaking profits. As CEO, Cook will continue to exert influence over Apple’s profit margins and deliver impressive earnings each quarter.
3. Less stage generalship
At the iPhone event on Oct. 4, those hoping to see a Jobs-like performance from Cook will be disappointed. As Cook has shown at Apple events in the past, he simply doesn’t have the stage presence that Jobs does. What’s more, he likely won’t spend as much time on stage as Jobs did. From now on, Apple events will likely be headlined by several folks, rather than just one. And that’s just fine.
4. Less vision than Steve Jobs
At Apple, Jobs was often called the “innovator-in-chief.” The Apple co-founder had a keen eye for product design and implementation, with an instinctive knowledge of what devices would be popular with consumers. Cook doesn’t have that eye, and he will need to rely upon the collective genius of Apple’s product designers and marketing executives to determine the shape of future products. Will that hurt Apple product designs? It’s too early to tell. But it’s something that observers should keep an eye on.
Cooks Love for Apple, Competitiveness
5. A love for Apple
If there is one thing Cook will bring to the iPhone event on Oct. 4, it’s a love for Apple. During his tenure at the company, Cook has proved time and again that he has a great affinity for the products Apple delivers and wants to see the company succeed as much as anyone. For any Apple CEO, a love for the company and its products is vastly important. And Cook has that.
6. Extreme competitiveness
When he was CEO of Apple, Jobs generated a level of competitiveness among employees that might be unrivaled elsewhere around the industry. Jobs simply wanted Apple to be the best company in the world, and he expected that same level of drive from his executives. Considering that drive for dominance has helped Apple succeed, it’s hard to see Cook trying to change the level of competitiveness that the company expects.Apple will be just as fierce a competitor under Cook as it was under Jobs.
If there is anything that Jobs taught Apple executives, it’s that secrecy matters. During his tenure as CEO, Jobs used secrecy to his advantage by making consumers speculate about what the company had up its sleeve, all the while preparing something that, in many cases, was even better than some expected. It was a masterful move. That is very unlikely to change under Cook’s watch.
8. Enormous respect for the past
During his tenure as Jobs’ second-in-command, Cook had a well-documented, strong relationship with his CEO. He believed in what Jobs was doing with Apple, and he had a firm grip on why Jobs made the decisions he made. Going forward, Cook can be expected to have strong ties to the past and to look to Jobs for inspiration in decisions he makes. In his memo to employees, Cook made it clear that Jobs was always a “mentor” to him over the years. That’s important to understanding who the new CEO is.
9. A desire to make a mark
Although he hasn’t made any indication that it might be true,look for Cook to want to make a significant mark as Apple’s CEO. If we look back at the company’s history, we find only one CEO-Jobs-who led the company to great success. The last thing Cook wants is to be another failed CEO or someone who the Apple community wants to forget about. Cook wants to succeed where so many others have failed. And he wants to start writing his own chapter on Oct. 4 at the iPhone event.
10. Few missteps
During his tenure at Apple, don’t expect Cook to make too many mistakes. For one, he has been CEO (either officially or in acting-capacity) for months now, and so far theship has been running just as well under him as it did under Jobs. What’s more, he doesn’t want to change the fundamentals that made Apple successful in the first place. When Jobs resigned as the company’s CEO, he didn’t just hand his company over to anyone; Jobs trusted Cook and believed that he could do a good job leading the company. So far, Cook has done nothing to make anyone think Jobs might have been wrong.