John Gruber: Apple is better off today with Tim Cook as CEO
John Gruber has a long post up about Apple/WWDC. In it he argues that the Apple of today is better off with Tim Cook as CEO. I tend to agree. Jobs was needed to bring Apple back from near death but now that it's so big, that it's the most valuable company in the world, a different kind of CEO is needed. What I love about Cook is he has no interest in being the center of attention. He's perfectly happy to let others on the executive team, others inside Apple get the attention. And I think he's proven that Apple works best when everyone is working together, not when there are silos and fiefdoms and teams being pitted against each other. Cook's Apple is laying the foundation for some amazing stuff and I can't wait to see the beginnings of that this fall.
During the keynote last week, John Siracusa referenced The Godfather,quipping:
Today Tim settles all family business.
I’d say it’s more that Cook settled the family business back in October 2012. Last week’s keynote was when we, on the outside, finally saw the results. Apple today is firing on all cylinders. That’s a cliché but an apt one. Cook saw untapped potential in a company hampered by silos.
When Cook succeeded Jobs, the question we all asked was more or less binary: Would Apple decline without Steve Jobs? What seems to have gone largely unconsidered is whether Apple would thrive with Cook at the helm, achieving things the company wasn’t able to do under the leadership of the autocratic and mercurial Jobs.3
Jobs was a great CEO for leading Apple to become big. But Cook is a great CEO for leading Apple now that it is big, to allow the company to take advantage of its size and success. Matt Drance said it, and so will I: What we saw last week at WWDC 2014 would not have happened under Steve Jobs.
This is not to say Apple is better off without Steve Jobs. But I do think it’s becoming clear that the company, today, might be better off with Tim Cook as CEO. If Jobs were still with us, his ideal role today might be that of an éminence grise, muse and partner to Jony Ive in the design of new products, and of course public presenter extraordinaire. Chairman of the board, with Cook as CEO, running the company much as he actually is today.