Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. It was inevitable that some changes would be made to Apple once Tim Cook took full control of Apple’s helm. It’s now been nine months since Jobs passed away, so exactly how has Tim Cook changed Apple in that time? How has he made the role of CEO his own rather than living in Jobs’ shadow?
Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, author of Inside Apple, has written up a lengthy profile on Tim Cook, who is featured on the cover of their most recent issue, taking a deeper look at how Tim Cook has distinguished himself.
Some of the differences between Cook and Jobs became apparent very quickly. For instance, Tim Cook began a charitable donation matching program, where Apple previously hadn’t publicly funded or participated in charity programs in the past. He also launched a dividend and share buyback program for Apple’s investors – something which Steve Jobs likely would never have done.
Lashinsky also notes how Apple’s corporate culture has begun to shift since Tim Cook took control, becoming more open and more “corporate.”:
A 14-year veteran of the company, Cook is maintaining, by words and actions, most of Apple’s unique corporate culture. But shifts of behavior and tone are absolutely apparent; some of them affect the core of Apple’s critical product-development process. In general, Apple has become slightly more open and considerably more corporate. In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It’s almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long-overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy.
Other notable changes include the manner in which Tim Cook addressed the labor conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partner, ordering independent audits of conditions, and in general facing the situation head in in an extremely proactive way.
Even though Steve Jobs is no longer with Apple in person, however, and despite differences in the way Tim Cook handles Apple’s affairs, Jobs’ influence will continue to have a place in Apple’s products and attitude for some time to come – after all, he spent years building up a team of executives, all of whom were influenced by his ideas.
I highly recommend checking out Fortune’s entire profile for yourself – it’s a great read! As for me, I’m thrilled to see how well Apple has managed to perform, even in the days and weeks immediately following Steve Jobs’ passing.
Congratulations, Tim Cook! Here’s to hoping that you’ll continue to lead Apple so well for many years to come!