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No, Forbes, Apple is NOT Planning to “Replace” Tim Cook

No, Forbes, Apple is NOT Planning to “Replace” Tim Cook

Forbes has written a lot of ill-fated anti Apple posts over the years – but in my three years as managing editor of MacTrast, Forbes’ latest anti-Apple tirade is perhaps the most absurd I have ever seen, not just from Forbes itself, but from any site. This time around, Forbes claims that Apple is searching for a replacement for Tim Cook as Apple’s CEO.

Tim Cook 2


Is Apple secretly searching for a new chief executive to replace Tim Cook? Some Wall Street sources close to some Apple executives say such a move is afoot, although there’s yet no available evidence that the board of the once-mighty top tech-innovator is officially in such a game-changing mode. But if it isn’t yet pursuing such a goal, it should, according to some big stakeholders, who have trimmed their Apple holdings.

They assert privately that it’s time for Appleto oust Cook. Under his tenure Apple shares rose to an all-time peak last September, but they have since been cut nearly in half. (Ed. Note: an earlier version of this piece mistakenly said Apple has fallen by half since Cook first took over.)

At least one of them believes there’s a move by some at the company to search for someone with credible credentials and superb tech qualifications to take over and turn things around, lest Apple go the way of Hewlett-Packard and JC Penney.

First of all, the report itself notes that there is absolutely no evidence of any kind that Apple is looking to replace Tim Cook. That’s a bad sign in itself. But aside from the lack of evidence, the very idea that “Apple’s shrine has faded,” or that investors are demanding that Tim Cook be ousted, is as unfounded as they come.

Fortune’s Phillip Elmer-Dewett sheds some light on the vocal minority “demanding” that Tim Cook be ousted – which includes Douglass Kass, who is well known for his previous attempts to manipulate Apple’ stock price.

Kass is at it again. On Sunday, citing the same “Gnome” that was the source for his stock split story, he tweeted:

@DougKass: From my Gnome,  high above the Alps – “Is Apple’s Tim Cook… Cooked?”

Kass, it turns out, is not alone in suggesting that the solution to Apple’s woes on Wall Street is to fire its CEO. We’ve been hearing whispers to that effect from disgruntled shareholders for weeks, but now — two days before Cook is scheduled to report Apple’s March quarterly earnings — they’ve come to the surface.

And who’s doing that? Let’s take a look:

  • We’ve got the tweet from Doug Kass, whose main Apple-related claim to fame was to publish his “Bear Case for Apple” the day before the stock began a nosedive that lopped nearly $300 billion off the market cap of the world’s most valuable company.
  • We’ve got The impossible task of fixing Apple by Rob Enderle, a consultant for Dell (DELL), Microsoft (MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and others, who has made a career of bad-mouthing Apple in print and on TV. (For background on Enderle, you can start with John Gruber’s 2003 Putting the ‘anal’ in ‘analyst‘.)
  • We’ve got Sunday’s Is Apple Looking For A Replacement For CEO Cook? in Forbes.com, the online arm of a once-respected business publication whose experiment in what it calls “incentive-based, entrepreneurial journalism” has led to what Macworld calls “a relentless clown show of anti-Apple contributors.”

Make no mistake, the people who want Tim Cook’s head on a spike are not friends of Apple. As far as I know, he still has the deep respect of the analysts who know the company best and — most important — the confidence of the board of directors who granted a million restricted shares of Apple as an incentive for him to stick around for at least a decade.

Apple’s board is not teaming up against Tim Cook. And there is no reason that they should, at least not at this point. A 6-month product slump is no reason to oust anybody, especially at Apple. While it’s true that Apple’s stock has taken a severe nose dive since Tim Cook took over at CEO, it’s also true that the stock also saw one of it’s most significant periods of growth of all time under his watch – all the way up to a peak of $700 per share. And, as DeWitt notes, Apple’s stock is still trading higher today than when Cook took up the mantle of Apple CEO.

The reality is that Apple’s sharp decline, in the words of Elmer-Dewitt, “more to do with a dysfunctional securities market than anything Cook has done as CEO.”

The short version of this story is that not only is there little to no merit to the claim that Apple is planning to oust Tim Cook – there’s really no reason to trust Forbes or their “sources” about any such claims, especially when they themselves admit that there isn’t a shred of evidence to back up the speculation.

What an embarrassing display of doomsday link bait bullshit.