Tim Cook Is No Steve Jobs and He Doesn't Need to Be: 10 Reasons Why

NEWS ANALYSIS: Too often, people believe that Tim Cook needs to be the next Steve Jobs. They’re wrong. Cook is doing just fine as his own man.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been at the helm at his company for over a year now, and so far, the reactions have been a bit mixed. Some have said that the Apple executive has done a fine job leading the company, as income and revenue have risen along with total product sales.

Others say that Cook’s work could be better and that lately Apple’s product updates have been a bit boring. Plus, with the Maps fiasco that hit iOS 6, Cook has made mistakes that some say, his predecessor Steve Jobs wouldn’t have.

But perhaps those folks are being too tough on Tim Cook. Granted, his first year hasn’t been perfect, but was any single 12-month period in Jobs’ career perfect, either? There were many stumbles in Jobs’ career, which was remarkable for its comebacks from reverses that would have crushed other people.

But why do so many observers insist on comparing Cook to Jobs? Yes, the Apple co-founder was a visionary that turned the company into what it is today, but his way wasn’t the only avenue for future success. In fact, Tim Cook doesn’t need to be like Steve Jobs at all to be successful.

Here are the reasons why Tim Cook doesn’t need to be Steve Jobs to effectively run Apple:

1. Steve Jobs didn’t expect the next CEO to be his clone

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook revealed that during a discussion with Steve Jobs last year prior to his death, the Apple co-founder made it clear that he didn’t want Apple’s new CEO to try to guess what Jobs would do in a given situation. Instead, he wanted Cook to “do what’s right.” If Steve Jobs didn’t want Cook to be like him, why would anyone else?

2. Sales are up

At the end of the day, CEOs are judged based on the financial success or failure of their companies. Over the past year that Cook has been leading Apple, revenue and profits are up. Unless that situation dramatically changes, then it’s hard to see how Jobs himself could do any better.

3. There’s no lack of quality

When Steve Jobs stepped down at Apple, there was a general concern that the quality of the company’s products would decline. However, since he has taken over, Cook hasn’t let quality slip one bit. In fact, improvements he made to the supply chain might have made things better. There’s no quality-control issue at Apple under Cook.

4. Jobs built a culture of inventiveness

Although Tim Cook might not be as innovative as Steve Jobs or have the foresight that his predecessor did, that doesn’t really matter. During his tenure as Apple’s CEO, Jobs hired employees that had the same love for inventiveness and innovative design as he did. Now, Cook is benefiting from that. And there’s nothing wrong with it.

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...