Apple's new CEO, Tim Cook, is turning out to be a more amiable brand advocate than Steve Jobs was. But Apple's nature as a paranoid, perfectionist company won't change (and thank goodness for that).
Steve Jobs "treated investors as if they were biohazards, rarely deigning to meet with them," Nick Wingfield writes on the Bits blog for the New York Times. "The disdain was not mutual, as an Apple stock chart for the last 10 years shows." By contrast:
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s new chief, showed on Tuesday how he planned to do things differently from his predecessor. Mr. Cook, who long handled the investor relations chores Mr. Jobs avoided, spoke at a Goldman Sachs conference on a wide range of topics, all the while displaying a bit more personality than he has in public presentations in the past. His appearance amounted to his most extensive public comments since he became chief of Apple in August, just weeks before the death of Mr. Jobs.
At the meeting, Cook tackled the issue of Chinese workplace conditions, and he was more responsive than Apple has been previously. Cook said Apple won't tolerate suppliers that violate its labor and human rights standards. Underage labor is "abhorrent," and though it's rare among Apple partners, complete elimination is a "top priority" for the company. Apple also plans to publish data on working hours for its suppliers.
When asked about how his leadership might be different from his predecessor's, Cook said Jobs "drilled" into all Apple employees that everything should revolve around making great products. Cook said he won't tamper with that. "Apple is this unique company, unique culture that you can’t replicate. I’m not going to witness or permit the slow undoing of it."
The appearance prompted ZDNet's Larry Dignan to effuse: "Tim Cook is the right person at the right time for Apple. Why? He’s better suited to fending off the hand grenades that come with being the most successful tech company on the planet."
The company and the CEO "are simply more likable to me," Dignan wrote. Cook "comes off as the anti-Jobs in many respects."
Make no mistake -- just because Cook has a more amiable disposition doesn't mean Apple is fundamentally changing. It's the same paranoid, secretive, perfectionist company it's always been. And that's a good thing. It's a formula that has produced one great product after another, even if it does fly in the face of the best marketing wisdom.
Do you think Apple and its marketing will fundamentally change under Cook? Let us know.
— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, The CMO Site