Apple CEO Tim Cook's First Full Year at the Helm: 10 Mistakes He Must Avoid

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple CEO Tim Cook has a long year ahead of him. There are a host of mistakes he just can't make if he wants Apple to stay successful.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has a difficult job. Looking back at the history of his company, there has been one CEO-co-founder Steve Jobs-who has been able to lead Apple to greatness. Other executives at the helm after Jobs was forced out in 1985 came perilously close to driving the company into the ground. There is a general concern among shareholders that Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs alone knew how to run such a big and sophisticated company as Apple.

But Cook's troubles go far beyond filling Jobs' shoes. The Apple CEO is also running the world's largest company and based on calendar fourth-quarter earnings, it's a firm that is generating more cash than any other competitor in the technology space. To give all that back because of poor decisions would be a huge black mark on Cook's record and more than likely limit his chances of ever coming close to looking like a Steve Jobs replacement.

So, there are a host of potential pitfalls waiting for Cook. And if he's not careful, he might just fall into them. But luckily for the Apple CEO, we have him covered.

Read on to find out what mistakes Cook can't afford to make at Apple this year:

1. Put an end to the secrecy

One of the key elements of Apple's success over the years has been its penchant for secrecy. The company uses the rumor mill to promote its products and build hype, and all the while doesn't allow a single sliver of real attributable news to leak out. It has worked beautifully in the past, and it's something Cook must not ditch as he starts making decisions this year.

2. Make the announcements less special

At the same time, simply sending out press releases or having half-baked press events to announce new products would be a mistake. So far, Cook hasn't proved that he really understands the value of major press events and has largely left them up to his executives to handle. That needs to stop. He needs to be the face of Apple and prominent at major product introductions.

3. Maintain status quo on production

Unfortunately, production facilities Apple relies on around the world are becoming increasingly troublesome for the company. Many workers at a Foxconn, a company that produces Apple products, complain of poor working conditions and practices. What's worse, some workers have committed suicide in the factories. Granted, Apple doesn't own those companies, but as a petition from watchdog group SumOfUs explains, Apple has the ability to "overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers." Cook must not maintain status quo in overseas production facilities. Things must change.

4. Forget Steve Jobs' lessons

As noted, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been the only chief executive at the company who really knew what it takes to make it successful. So, the last thing Cook should do is throw out all the lessons Jobs taught him to try a different course. Jobs' strategies worked. And Cook must accept that.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...