Cook has deep shoes to fill at Jobs-less Apple

Oct 06, 2011 by Glenn Chapman
Apple CEO Tim Cook during an event introducing the new iPhone 4s at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, on october 4. The death of visionary Steve Jobs has left huge shoes to fill at Apple, with agile competitors mounting a continuous assault on the company's hit iPhones, iPads and other groundbreaking products.

The death of visionary Steve Jobs has left huge shoes to fill at Apple, with agile competitors mounting a continuous assault on the company's hit iPhones, iPads and other groundbreaking products.

Analysts said that for the short term, new chief executive has inherited a strong company with a powerful product line and has the skills to keep it going -- though there remain questions over his ability to match Jobs's acumen at picking winners in the consumer electronics market.

"Steve is too big a personality and too amazing of a businessman for him not to be missed," Gartner analyst Van Baker said, just hours before Jobs' death was announced.

"But the wheels aren't going to come off; a lot of Steve's qualities are embedded in the culture."

The company's share price fell, and then rebounded, after the death of Jobs on Wednesday, which came after a long fight with pancreatic cancer and his handing over the reins to Cook in August.

It was up 1.1 percent to $382.13 in midday trade on Thursday, as tech industry experts renewed votes of confidence in the company's ability to beat back challengers.

"We believe Tim Cook is well-qualified for his new role as CEO and has at his disposal a deep and talented executive team in the areas of , hardware/software design and product marketing," said Canaccord analyst Michael Walkley.

The list of market-stunning products tied to Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976, is long: , iPods, iPhones, , and the operating systems behind them that while not as widely used as rival Microsoft's, are revered as high-performance devices worth the premium prices usually charged.

Independent Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle called Jobs "the ultimate product tester."

"Everything went through him," Enderle said hours before his death. "As more products come out over time, they will have less of his handprint on them."

Jobs garnered regular standing ovations at conferences where he introduced them, including the latest version of the iPad in March this year and the iCloud cloud computing service in June.

Thirteen-year Apple veteran Cook, by comparison, underwhelmed in his launch of a new iPhone Tuesday: many fans believed there would be an all-new fifth generation version, but it turned out to be a modified iPhone 4, dubbed the 4s, and the company's shares were sold off.

But analysts said the smartphone was a strong improvement and should fly off the shelves, and gave Cook a solid grade.

Canaccord's Walkley said the model features important hardware upgrades, including a much faster processor and better camera, and improved antenna.

Overall for Apple, new capabilities in the operating system and the iCloud "will generate strong sales of iPhone 4S and increased (operating system) ecosystem stickiness to generate future recurring device sales," he said.

"I don't think Apple's lost their mojo at all," Gartner's Baker told AFP after the iPhone 4s launch.

"All of this brouhaha will blow over, probably about the time they see people are buying a gazillion of the iPhones," he continued.

"In our view, iCloud has just gotten started," said tech analyst Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee.

"And the iPhone and iPad are still relatively early in their adoption curve. And there are still untapped markets like broadcast television and streaming video."

But company management experts have long identified Jobs with a rare skill of picking the products and product attributes that consumers will want, and over the longer term, the company's future could rest on replicating that talent.

Cook, whom Jobs hand-picked to succeed him, acknowledged as much on Wednesday.

"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," he said.

"Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

Enderle, the analyst, said: "Steve was the face of Apple and was an evangelical product marketer."

"It is like a church following a beloved minister; that is not an easily transferrable skill set."

But with extremely agile competitors getting out powerful rivals to Apple products to the market more and more quickly, Cook's skills are also essential to Apple's success.

He has worked behind the scenes outsourcing manufacturing and coordinating distribution to ensure new iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers do not grow stale in warehouses.

He is also credited with shrewdly negotiating deals for components that kept down costs and fattened profit margins.

"I am confident that Apple can move forward under Tim Cook and his executive team and that Apple will continue to be one of the most important technology companies in the world," analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies said.

Explore further: Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Apple chief Cook to debut hot new iPhone

Oct 03, 2011

Apple's Tim Cook is expected to kick off his reign as chief executive on Tuesday by unveiling a hot new iPhone model that some analysts are predicting will be a bestseller.

With Jobs out as CEO, Apple looks to the future

Aug 25, 2011

(AP) -- Since Steve Jobs' return to Apple Inc. in 1997 as CEO, the company has been on an unparalleled upswing, highlighted by the immense popularity of the iPad and iPhone.

Jobs hopes to return 'as soon as he can': Cook

Apr 21, 2011

Apple's ailing chief executive Steve Jobs remains involved in major strategic decisions at the company and hopes to return to work full-time as soon as he can, a top Apple executive said on Wednesday.

Apple begins event where new iPhone expected

Oct 04, 2011

(AP) -- An Apple event has started during which the company is expected to unveil a new iPhone. It's the first major product event in years that Steve Jobs isn't presiding over.

Cook vows to stay true to Apple core

Aug 25, 2011

Tim Cook began his first day as Apple chief executive on Thursday by assuring employees that he will stick to the winning ways of his legendary predecessor Steve Jobs.

Recommended for you

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

22 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

States ascend into the cloud

Oct 24, 2014

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

Oct 24, 2014

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

Oct 24, 2014

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

User comments : 0