In an interview with NASDAQ, Apple cofounder Steve "The Woz" Wozniak offered his thoughts on Steve Ballmer, Apple's formula for innovation, and whether or not Tim Cook is the right person to lead Apple. On this latter topic, The Woz argued that Steve Jobs picked Tim Cook for a reason.
The video interview (my apologies, but it's only offered in Flash):
In recent years, Apple fans have praised The Woz when he said something nice about Apple and dismissed him as a has-been when he was critical of the company he cofounded. Personally, I am always interested in what he has to say.
He's brilliant, he designed the Apple I and the Apple ][ by himself. I mean, really. What have you done lately? He also has access to the rich, famous, and influential because he himself is rich, famous, and influential, and that no doubt helps inform his opinions.
Even when I disagree with him, he's interesting and I find his arguments worth listening to.
About Steve Ballmer
The Woz, who can count himself a contemporary of Steve Ballmer, said, that Microsoft has been resting on its laurels without doing anything new or noteworthy in a very long time.
"I don't know how the world judges Steve Ballmer," he said. "But I don't think his time [at Microsoft] was as important and significant as Bill Gates's."
But he said it would be a mistake to think what happened at Microsoft will happen at Apple, as economist Paul Krugman recently opined in a column for The New York Times.
The Woz argued that Apple is a big company, but that under the late Steve Jobs, it found the formula to remain innovative despite its size. More significantly to me, he then added, "And they're still there."
This is effectively addressing criticism from outside observers who said that Apple is no longer innovative, and that led the NASDAQ interviewer to ask if current Apple CEO Tim Cook is the right person to lead Apple today.
Apple Tim Cook
This was the most interesting aspect of this interview to me, possibly because The Woz essentially said what I've been arguing since criticism of Tim Cook erupted in late 2012. From the interview:
Steve Jobs had very strong feelings about what makes a company great, and what makes products great, and he more or less chose Tim Cook to be in that role and in that position. Everybody sort of says, Oh my gosh, two years have passed, and we need something really new and great from Apple. Well, yeah [laughs]. The great advances for mankind don't happen every year.
From The Woz's lips to your ears, Apple critics.