Let’s Leave Apple’s Tim Cook Alone for Awhile

| Particle Debris

The poor guy. Everyone writes about him day and night. This and that. He's no Steve Jobs. Maybe, but he must be his own man. Lamentations: he's just an operations guy. Praise: He sat next to Steve Jobs for over a decade and had Jobs's trust. The reins of Apple were handed over to him, but (tearfully) he doesn't know anything. His hair is funny. He's saving Apple. He's destroying Apple. Can we have the madness stop?


By now it should be clear that most articles about Tim Cook are written as click bait. It doesn't matter if the author has ever interviewed or even met Mr. Cook, like Walt Mossberg or NBC's Brian Williams. It doesn't matter if the author has even worked for Apple, been on campus, attended WWDC, or even bought an Apple T-shirt in the company store. Nope.

Just put Mr. Cook's name in the headline and add some spice. The juicier and and more negative the better, of course, because that implies insider knowledge. Regrettably, the title often writes a check the author cannot cash.

When I think about people who have the street cred to get to know Mr. Cook and write about him authoritatively, I think about Leander Kahney (@lkahney), Steven Levy (@StevenLevy), Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) anyone on the re/code team, and all of the notable, respected senior editors on the Mac Web. We all know who they are, so I won't try to make a huge list and get into even more trouble.

The fact is, Tim Cook is a lightning rod. He represents a company one either loves or hates, and for that reason we either praise him too much or vilify him for a paycheck.

As for me, I'm getting pretty tired of it. The proof is in the pudding, and next week at the WWDC keynote we'll get another glimpse of what Apple's been doing under the leadership of Tim Cook. What's real is the products Apple creates and how they serve us. That's the quantitative measure of the man's execution at Apple.

And with that, we can move on to the week's tech news debris where Rocco Pendola (TheStreet), Jason Snell (Macworld) (and yours truly) write something of substance about Mr. Cook and Apple.

Next: the tech news debris for the week of May 26

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As much as I sympathise with the sentiment in this article, this Cook-cavilling pastime so beloved by pundits, press and analysts of all stripes, strikes me, rightly or not, as fundamentally no different in either tone or character than that levelled at Steve Jobs as he rolled out each new product now hailed as proof of his genius and innovation, no less than did they decry his deletion and addition of features to hardware (Remember floppy drive deletion and the fire wire addition? In my orbit at least these were much maligned by PC advocates).

I recall particular and visceral denunciation of the iPod, as well as claims of lack of business insight and savvy when he spurned potential partnerships, one in particular, when rolling out iTunes to support it. Apple’s doom, demise, and directionlessnes were almost universally proclaimed, and not only by critics, but members of the Apple community as well. Nearly to a product or service, nearly each of Apple’s now celebrated ‘innovations’ were either derided or held up as proof of floundering at their introduction, and only retrospectively acclaimed as brilliant and innovative once the public insured their success.

Indeed, it would, by my reckoning, be a departure from that practice were the pundit classes to demonstrate prospective appreciation of each of Apple’s moves or trajectory. One might argue, how could it be otherwise for a company that continues to surprise (e.g. 64 bit processing in a smartphone) and delight the industry and consumer alike; if everyone knew where Apple was headed or what they were up to, how could anyone ever be surprised (or misdirected - yes, I’m talking about you, Samsung and your Galaxy Gear).

Thus far, we’re back to business as usual. Long live the status quo.

Tim 1

I was a fan of Tim Cook, I thought he was doing a good job and was much more likable than the media portrayed him to be.  That pretty much ended with him giving Dr. Dre $3 billion.  Getting in with him goes against the morals and inclusiveness that so many of us have come to expect from Apple.  I would prefer it if he left at this point.

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