Trip Chowdry's Newest Folly: Tim Cook Should Be Replaced by Jon Rubinstein

Dunce CapTrip Chowdry...his record makes me hesitant to give him ink, but he says stuff that is just so wrong I have to vent. You folks want to vent with me? Yeah, I figured as much, so let's get to it.

In a research note to his clients—wouldn't it be interesting to see who pays Trip Chowdry for his financial advice? I mean, this is the guy who said in March of 2014 that Apple had 60 days to release an "iWatch" or die, one of the most unsophisticated, myopic, and arbitrary predictions ever.

Then, in December of 2015, Mr. Chowdry said that Apple was going to kick some corporate butt in 2016. But that was a month ago, and in a month's time, everything changes, because according to that research note I mentioned above, Apple CEO Tim Cook is "completely clueless" and needs to be sacked. Investors, he claimed (according to Benzinga), have lost all confidence in both Mr. Cook and CFO Luca Maestri.

At the heart of his argument is Apple's price to earnings ratio, or P/E. It's low. Very low. Like 10.59x. That's stupid low, really, especially if you back out Apple's cash, and it's been below 15x for some time.

Trip Chowdry thinks that's because Tim Cook has fostered a culture of "bozos," according to The Motley Fool. Notice how he's trying to drape his arguments in the mantle of Steve Jobs, who famously called anyone who didn't measure up a "bozo." Trip Chowdry is telling us that he, too, can tell the bozos from the A-team.

Allow me to posit that he is mistaken.

But Mr. Chowdry isn't one to just sit back and criticize, he also comes bearing solutions. To fix Tim Cook's lack of vision, as he sees it, Mr. Chowdry believes Jonathan Rubinstein should come back and run Apple, while Tim Cook goes back to heading operations. Mr. Maestri, too, would "go back to his Accountant role," while former Apple CFO Fred Anderson would be reinstated to his former role.

This, Mr. Chowdry believes, is what Apple needs.

It's just so...wrong. Even accepting his premise that Mr. Cook needs to go—I reject that premise as pure folly—the idea of keeping a former CEO around after being demoted is absurd.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm a big fan of Jon Rubinstein. I had big hopes for him at Palm, and maintained those hopes when HP bought Palm. He doesn't, however, have the stature or resume to take over Apple. Scott Forstall would have been a better boogeyman for Mr. Chowdry to set up.

Mr. Anderson also has my great admiration. He was instrumental in engineering Apple's return to solvency and became one of Steve Jobs's main partners in leveraging solvency into the raging success Apple enjoys today. Suggesting he come back, however, ignores the reality that Mr. Anderson is retired. More importantly, he only intended to work at Apple for a few years the first time around, according to Becoming Steve Jobs. It's a wonderful book. I suggest you read it.

And by you, I mean Trip Chowdry.

There's also the bit about Tim Cook having "zero passion." This may be the least observant thing in Mr. Chowdry's diatribe. Tim Cook is a man of great passions. Fairness, equality, privacy, and the environment are all matters that drive Mr. Cook in ways that few of us will ever understand. I see this whenever he speaks. I can excuse less observant people who fail to see it because Mr. Cook is quiet person. An understated person. That doesn't make it any less real.

More importantly, Tim Cook's biggest passion is likely Apple and furthering the visions of one Steve Jobs. You know, Steve Jobs. The guy who handpicked Tim Cook to replace him. Mr. Chowdry thinks he knows more about how to run Apple than Steve Jobs. Mr. Chowdry thinks he knows more about visionary leadership than Steve Jobs. Mr. Chowdry thinks he knows more about bozos than Steve Jobs, that he sees the bozo in Tim Cook when Steve Jobs didn't.

Again, I posit that he's wrong.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.