Pondering Those Who Dis Apple’s CEO Tim Cook [VIDEO]

| Editorial

One of the things that has really annoyed me lately is the arrogant, almost casual, drive-by character assassination of Apple CEO Tim Cook as a vehicle to predict the demise of Apple. Some agenda seems to be at work.

After all, if one can assert that Mr. Cook was spending all of his time since 1998, when Mr. Jobs hired him, in the closet with a spreadsheet, working operations and never developed into a product or concept guy, one can then entice the reader into the idea that Apple is being led by a man bound for failure who will drag his company into disgrace.


I know from experience what Mr. Cook is like, having worked for Apple in his chain of command in the past. By 2003, he was already making a name for himself, managing Apple sales with a firm hand and participating in the now long-gone Q&A session with Apple executives during WWDC week. I won't say he was perfect, and I have colleagues who had spectacular run-ins with him, but that's another story. Even then, we all knew he was a force to be reckoned with.

Throughout the years, Mr. Cook has been particpating in Apple's earnings reports, fielding some very clever questions from analysts, keeping product plans close to the vest, even as he remained mindful of the legal issues related to sizing up the performance of Apple. I can only conclude that writers who dis the man have never listened to these events with seasoned perspective and appreciation.

As further evidence, I want to point you to an event you can evaluate for yourself. In this video, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller are conducing a Q&A after an Apple media event in 2007.

I want to draw your attention to a few things. First, Mr. Cook isn't sitting in a closet. He's out and about, sitting next to Mr. Jobs, in what really must be considered tutelage. If Mr. Jobs had never envisioned that Mr. Cook would be, at some point, answering questions, irrespective of his own health, he wouldn't have had Mr. Cook up on the stage with him. This is graduate school training at Apple, under the Master.

At about 38 seconds into the video, a reporter from Cox Newspapers asks an interesting question about Apple's decision not to have "Intel Inside" stickers on its Macs. Others have marveled at Mr. Jobs's ability to grin, pause, deflect, then answer with humor and a touch of passion. But then he also pays his respects to Intel for the sake of the politics.

Now watch it a second time and, this time, focus on Mr. Cook starting at 0:38. As soon as the question is asked, Mr. Cook smiles. This not a smirk; it's a knowing smile.

He already knows the answer. Even though he's not on the line to answer, you can see that he knows what Mr. Jobs is going to say. How does that happen? It's called meetings every week from 1998 to 2011. It's called having your office close to Mr. Jobs. It's called being engaged in the company he's working for and being intimately involved with products, production, packaging and Apple philosophy. And being answerable to the former CEO.

Are we to believe that Mr. Cook, a very intelligent fellow, learned nothing from being on stage with Mr. Jobs?

Finally, Steve Jobs would have never selected Mr. Cook to succeed him if the very demanding and severe nature of his personality didn't think Tim Cook could handle the job. Phil Schiller has the Apple DNA too, but he doesn't have the commanding, serious presence of Mr. Cook. If we think Mr. Cook stumbled into his current position, we need only recall the stories of what happened to some employees when Mr. Jobs asked a question, and he didn't get the right answer.

Mr. Cook never says a word in this snippet of Q&A from 2007. The photographer says he was asked to stop recording early, so we're not sure. But one thing is certain. Mr. Tim Cook was working with Mr. Jobs, side-by-side at events like this, and came to learn his company inside and out for 13 years. In this video, we see him learning what it's like to be the CEO and field oddball questions.

The next time you read an article that says Apple is doomed because Tim Cook doesn't know his job, his products, his company and his customers, make note of the author. More and more of these tirades are written, amazingly, by people we've never heard of before because respected Apple journalists don't write nonsense. They know the company and the people they're covering.

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John Maretllaro: More and more of these tirades are written, amazingly, by people we’ve never heard of before

Drive-by journalism seems more interested in page hits than substance or accuracy. Folks trying to make a name for themselves and then probably mischaracterizing the feedback they receive as “typical Apple fan blowback.” And not learning anything constructive or worldview-altering. Sadly, there’s too much of this in the last decade. even at what used to be respected sources of news.


“Drive-by journalism seems more interested in page hits than substance or accuracy.”

Such is the nature of freelance writing, take a look at what was written in the 50’s and 60’s by freelance journalists and you won’t see much substance or accuracy.

Bryan Chaffin

Beautifully said, John.

Paul Goodwin

Some great leaders of the past have been (on the surface) quiet doers, and not brash an quotable. Dwight Eisenhower was seeming dispassionate like Time Cook. But he was a great administrative leader, letting his people excel at what they did, putting together plans to execute that were grand, executable, and in the end successful. We have a ways to go (time wise) to see how good Tim Cook really is, but the fact that the Internet isn’t abuzz with memorable quotes from him doesn’t at all mean he won’t turn out to be great. Steve Jobs wouldn’t have entrusted his life’s passion to him without knowing he was destined for success. Too many readers these days are wowed by sensational outbursts from company leaders, and many times those leaders spoke before they thought about the impact of what they were saying. What at first seems powerful sometimes quickly turns into a problem. And some are just plain windbags. I for one, think Cook has a great period ahead of him.


The NY Times, The Wall Street Journal, and several stupid Anal-ists have all written non-sense about Tim Cook, that he should be removed or doesn’t know what he’s doing, blah,blah,blah….
Non-sense as you say John. Steve Jobs would not have had him take over if he didn’t have what it takes to run Apple. There are to many stories about Apple that have been negative about anything and everything. And usually they take it to the extreme like with maps. Was it really that bad? I used it and was able to get to and from accurately without a problem. Sure maybe in the boonies of Australia there were inaccuracies but come on. Anyways Tim Cook is doing a spectacular job and I have a really good feeling that come June people will be seeing a lot of great things coming soon.


That’s not the closet most folks are talking about. Seems some folks think if you are male, single, no girlfriend been paraded about all the time etc you have to be gay. Double if you work for a gay friendly company.

Personally I don’t care if he is or isn’t just sick of folks insisting he is but isn’t talking cause gays can’t be CEOs or he’s ashamed of being gay or whatever.

Lee Dronick

That is the first that I have heard of that.


Very nicely and cogently articulated, John.

I think there is a subset of journalist/analysts/bloggers who, as a function of their dislike of Steve Jobs, have not liked either Apple’s products and services, the philosophy and business model of the company, or even the people SJ appointed to succeed him and run the company. Despite Apple’s unmitigated success in transitioning an entire industry, indeed a generation, from the PC to the post-PC era, its singular trend of expanding its PC market share during both an economic downturn and later still during the cannibalisation of that product by its own iPad, its unparalleled dominance of not only the PC industry but sectors as disparate as electronics writ large, smartphones, tablets, music and entertainment - and several services associated with the management of these, these unhappy few have consistently maintained that all of this is bad policy, bad practice and ultimately doomed to fail.

In my view, the universe that these pundits inhabit is out of phase with reality, at least in this space-time continuum, is sustained only by conformational bias; that is, singular observations that support their positions while ignoring the overwhelming number of observations that prove otherwise - indeed the very context of the observations they cherry-pick to validate their positions.

For these, no amount of rational argument, proof, evidence or flow of incontrovertible performance indicators will alter their positions because their worldview, to use ibuck’s term above, is irrational, faith and hope-based, and fed by a passionate resentment that will not be quenched.

As for Tim Cook and Apple, I believe that both have to maintain a thick skin, an iron resolve to adhere to the company’s core values, and a laser-like focus on best-in-class user experience with every product, even if that entails quiet interludes of apparent non-productivity. This latter will have the benefit to those critics of keeping them gainfully employed, while they write about Apple being out of ammo, out of ideas, out of time and circling the drain of impending doom.


NB: I write too fast, at times, when pressed for time, and often do not proof read. The third paragraph should read ‘confirmational’ or ‘confirmation’ bias, not ‘conformational’. This time, I was the victim of autocorrect. #DYAC


Mr. Cook is a Great VP of distribution channels and a very hardworking one.  This is not any fault of his own that he is getting the cold shoulder from us.  We are used to Steve Jobs in that position and believe me Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs and he is in the wrong position.  You need an amazingly charismatic person in that position and even if they are able to find that person, he still can’t be like Steve, let alone Tim Cook.  I am sure that Mr. Cook also understands this too.  Best proof of it, he performs less than 20% of the Apple Keynote Address and leaves the remaining 80% to others.  the man is down right boring.  Gad!

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