Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs. And that’s a good thing


You might have heard – Apple had an event yesterday. They were going to launch a brand new iPhone and give a company update. So I went along with my colleague Erica Ogg to Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif. I was curious to know what direction the mobile handset business going to take and perhaps write at a later stage one of my infrequent OmSays newsletters. Between her and rest of our team, it was clear I didn’t have to live blog or rush to write. So why did I go? I was curious to see the iPhone 4S – first and foremost. More importantly, I wanted to see the public debut of the man who has to fill the shoes of a man that no one can.

“This is my first public launch since becoming CEO, I am sure you didn’t know that,” is how Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple greeted the attendees – a mix of media, partners and employees. “I love Apple and what a privilege it is to have worked here for 14 years.”

And with those few words, he ushered in a brand new era at arguably one of the most valuable, loved, admired, loathed and despised company anywhere in the world. It might make inanimate objects, but it inspires emotions. Emotions like love, joy, anger and chagrin. And it inspires countless hours of debate over the merits of Apple, Windows and Android!

Unlike Steve Jobs who was the ultimate thespian, Cook was cool, calming and charming. There were no dramatic pauses! No edge-of-the-seat changes in tempo Jobs so often brought to the stage, Cook was matter of fact, efficient and focused. Instead of lingering on features and new devices, he shared the stage with his team, and did so a tad more generously than his predecessor.

Scott Steve Forstall, Eddy Cue, Phil Schiller got more airtime than Cook and rightfully so. His comments were about the retail stores and what a massive engine they have become for the company. It is a good sign – after all a company is more than one person. For the longest time when thinking about Apple, we always thought of Jobs and his incandescent personality.

Cook’s regime, from THIS brief glimpse, is going to be a more egalitarian but ruthlessly efficient. His words were measured, to the point and focused. He didn’t spend much time on competitors.

One thing that wouldn’t be different – Apple would continue to be secretive, controlling in its relationships with everyone — its customers, partners, media and carriers. The Sprint-Apple deal  that skews almost entirely in favor of the Cupertino Kingdom, is a sign of how Cook-era Apple is going to be – matter of fact and all about keeping Apple, well … Apple.


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