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Apple Jobs vs. Apple Cook

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

How in ten years the iPhone maker became the master of the ecosystem

On August 24, 2011, Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple. Tim Cook took his place. Many experts then expressed doubts about the future of the corporation without its charismatic founder.

Service and method dominance

Since then, Apple has become the most valuable company in the world - its market capitalization has grown by 600%, approaching $2.5 trillion. More than a billion people and the company itself regularly continues to update financial reporting records use apple gadgets. Revenue for the third quarter of this year was $81.4 billion - almost three times more than the company earned in the same quarter of 2011.

“This is arguably the most successful transition from one powerful leader to another in corporate history,” says Joseph Marc Blumenthal. “Honestly, perhaps Apple needed more inspiration and politics than a founder prone to manual control and work to the point of exhaustion. It's about maintaining the empire, not building it. "

I knew if Steve Jobs for his ability to create disruptive gadgets and change user perceptions of what a computer or smartphone could be, then Mr. Cook is very good at creating an ecosystem - a set of capabilities, services, and devices.

In these ten years, it created an extensive system of services for the owners of the company's gadgets (and not only). This is the iCloud cloud service, launched in 2011, and the Apple Music music streaming service, created in 2015, and the Apple Pay payment service, the Apple Arcade game service (2019).

One of the latest and most ambitious projects is the Apple TV + video service. It launched in 2019. Since then, Apple has already invested billions of dollars in it, is going to invest billions more in the coming years, and is ready to compete with Netflix and Disney +.

In 2011, revenue from services amounted to $3 billion. In 2016, it reached $20 billion, and in the past - $53.8 billion. It already accounts for about 20% of the company's revenues.

This diversification has made the business more sustainable.

In the early years of Mr. Cook's leadership, the corporation experienced a slight slowdown: iPhone sales grew weakly or even slightly declined. However, then Apple returned to sustainable growth.

The fact also evidenced the diversification of activities that, under the leadership of Mr. Cook, Apple gained more than a hundred companies in various directions. It bought the famous headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics for $3 billion, the Shazam music recognition application for $400 million, the startup, which specializes in self-driving technologies for $200 million, and Intel's modem division for $1 billion.

In terms of devices, in the last decade, the corporation introduced such gadgets that have become very popular, such as the Apple Watch smartwatch in 2015 and AirPods in 2016. Of course, none of these products are groundbreaking, but like services, they complement the entire Apple ecosystem.

Conflict and lack of innovation

Apple often found itself in difficult situations. Here is just the most recent case when the corporation found itself in the center of sharp criticism, although it seemed to proceed from exceptionally good intentions.

In early August, Apple announced it would be more active in combating child pornography by installing special software on iPhone and iPad to search for such content. This sparked criticism from privacy advocates. Over 4.4 thousand individuals and organizations have signed an appeal to Apple to abandon these plans.

Other major conflicts include the confrontation with Facebook and other companies, an important chunk of their revenue coming from online advertising.

Here, Apple has updated its privacy policy to significantly limit the collection of user information used for targeted advertising.

Many developers are unhappy with the 30 percent fee Apple charges on all in-app payments in the App Store. Last year, game developer Epic Games, followed by many other firms including Spotify, Match Group, Microsoft, and Facebook, launched a campaign to lower that commission. In May, Mr. Cook even had to testify in court in this case.

Another reason for criticism is the relationship with employees.

And if earlier the focus of public attention was rather poor working conditions at the factories of its suppliers in China and other developing countries, then recently there have been conflicts with American employees of Apple. For example, when the company announced in June that it would soon move into the office after more than a year of working from home, it caused discontent among many of its employees.

Mr. Cook is periodically reproached because in ten years Apple has released nothing as groundbreaking as the iPhone. According to experts, in the future, the corporation may have difficulties with the increasing spread of the Internet of things. While the lineup includes the HomePod smart speaker, overall Apple lags many of its competitors.

We can say that they are still heavily dependent on the iPhone. I'm trying to imagine what the future will look like and what will happen when the smartphone is no longer the center of the universe,says Joseph Marc Blumenthal

Although they regularly write that Apple is developing its own augmented reality glasses, its own chips, or an unmanned car, while all this remains at the level of development.

However, other experts defend Mr. Cook's leadership style. They talk about "the triumph of method over magic" or "the creation of a phenomenon from the point of view of the stock market", referring to the more systemic and more systemic Steve Jobs of the leadership of the company and the continuous growth of its stock.

“Mr. Cook’s Apple, as many former Apple executives say, is a corporate giant looking to grow with an empire of products and services around the revolutionary inventions of its predecessor,” writes The Wall Street Journal.

“This is something that many do not understand: progressive development is revolutionary for Apple. As soon as they enter any category with a simple, elegant solution, they chart a course and take possession of the space. You don't have to break new records in speed, just grow organically,” says Chris Deaver, who has been recruiting Apple's research and development teams for several years.

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