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

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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.

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Paul Goodwin

Tip Chowdry is a worthless click baiter. He’s one of Macalope’s favorite targets.

Lee Dronick

a worthless click baiter

Click baiting is the current journalism standard


I get what you’re saying on the whole, Bryan - and I have to agree that Trip Chowdry is a chowderheaded click baiting troll. In no way, shape or form would I see any logical reason for giving Tim Cook the boot, but - while this is unrelated to whatever Trip’s stated reasons are - I have to make a tangential semi-rant.

It would be hard to refute that Apple’s quality control has slipped significantly in recent years. They’re kicking out new OS’ practically at breakneck speed, which for me has become an expectation of thrills with new features along with simultaneous frustration that some previously existing functionality will either get mangled or broken. And some of those issues may not be addressed for a full year, as they wait to include the fix in the next OS release. There has been an increasing number of “WTF?!” Apple product releases… the iPhone battery pack seems to pretty much be universally derided as the fugliest thing Apple has ever publicly released (which Tim does seem to be perfectly OK with). I understand that Apple Music (or Beats, or whatever?) seriously mangled a bunch of peoples’ music libraries, and p***ed off a lot of customers. And the iPad Pro keyboard… sorry, maybe this is just my opinion, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that with its ridiculous origami contortion and fairly cheesy cloth covered keys, that Apple SERIOUSLY believes that thing is a realistic laptop replacement. The new Apple TV’s horizontal text input: seriously, what were their software engineers thinking, and how the hell did that make it to a public release?? I could go on, but you get the idea.

Cook’s contributions to Apple FAR exceed areas where they’re slipping, and for me the suggestion that he should be kicked out is beyond absurd. More to the point, I’ve had a hard time wrapping my brain around what post-Cook era might look like, and it actually FRIGHTENS me to consider, “what will happen to Apple if Tim Cook disappeared tomorrow?” HOWEVER. I do have a sense that he’s been playing the part of “nice guy CEO” maybe a little too well, and my understanding is that there’s a lot less drama within the company than there was while Jobs was still around. I just think that Tim needs to sharpen his spear a bit, and instill a bit of “get it right or die” fear of failure in Apple’s product development.

Anyway. One way or the other, it is IMPOSSIBLE to imagine Apple’s runaway success over the past decade+ without Cook, and I hope he’s around for years to come (with a little more assertion to drop the hammer on dumb ideas and mediocre work).


What is galling about Chowdry is the lack of self-awareness in the arrogance and haughtiness of his pronouncements.  He really thinks he’s on the same level as Tim Cook and other tech heavy hitters who have grown companies into unprecedented heights.  I think of a chihuahua yapping aggressively at a pack of mastiffs, mistaking the latter’s disinterest as fear.

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