What has Tim Cook done since becoming Apple’s CEO?

Timothy Donald “Tim” Cook…

… had two high ranking-product guys, Jony Ive on the hardware and Scott Forstall on the software side. Both had a fundamentally different understanding of what good design is, pure simplicity vs. the for many years by Steve Jobs favored skeumorphism. Cook let go of Forstall and elevated Jony to the Senior Vice President of Design, overseeing both the hardware and the software part. This will allow Apple to produce more coherent products from a design point of view. Cooks says:

You have to be an A-plus at collaboration. And so the changes that we made get us to a whole new level of collaboration. […]

I despise politics. There is no room for it in a company. My life is going to be way too short to deal with that. No bureaucracy. We want this fast-moving, agile company where there are no politics, no agendas.

… introduced the iPad Mini on November 2nd 2012, against Steve Jobs claims that a tablet with a 7.9-inch display would never succeed. Today the iPad Mini is according to many analysts the best selling tablet on the market. As Cook claims:

I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it and so we never fear it. We know that iPhone has cannibalized some iPod business. It doesn’t worry us, but it’s done that. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs that doesn’t worry us. On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities here, because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market is.

… apologized publicly for Apple Maps and took prompt measures. It was one of the reasons why he let go Scott Forstall who was responsible for the development of Apple Maps on iOS 6. As Cook frankly explained:

It wasn’t a matter of saying, “Strategically it’s important that we not work with company X.” We set out to give the customer something to provide a better experience. And the truth is it didn’t live up to our expectations. We screwed up. […]

We’re putting all of our energy into making it right. And we have already had several software updates. We’ve got a huge plan to make it even better. It will get better and better over time.

… has come on good terms with the investors, as he introduced a buyback plan to purchase an additional $50 billion worth of shares through 2015. He also convinced the board to pay out a dividend for the first time in Apple’s history and recently increased it by 15% to $3.05 per share. The buyback plan will reduce outstanding shares, which will lead to an additional dividend increase. Furthermore, Apple’s valuation in 2014 has grown by almost as much as Google’s entire market capitalisation. Nevertheless, Cook states:

We do things for other reasons than a profit motive, we do things because they are right and just,[…] I don’t think about the bloody ROI, […] Just to be very straightforward with you, if that’s a hard line for you . . . then you should get out of the stock.

… transformed the way Apple communicates to the public and made Apple a more open and cooperating company. He especially made Apple’s labour rights and business relations much more transparent and addresses issues instantly and straightforwardly. Keyword: Foxconn. Furthermore, he made sure that key people (especially Jony Ive) regularly appeared in the spotlight. As Cook remarks:

If you look at our website, we’re publishing working hours for almost a million people across our supply chain. Nobody else is doing this. We are very much managing this at a micro level. And you know, maybe as important as that, we are training workers on their rights. We have trained 2 million people, and we’ve brought college courses to the factories where people can begin to earn their degrees.

Link: Labour and Human Rights

and

My objective is to raise the public profile of several of the folks on the executive team, and others as well. Because I think that’s good for Apple at the end of the day.

… introduced and discontinued the iPhone 5C. The iPhone 5C was the second product alteration Tim Cook announced besides the iPad Mini after the death of Steve Jobs. While the iPad original iPad Mini became the 2nd most sold iPad, the iPhone 5C fell flat. On September 9th 2015, the iPhone 5C was discontinued upon the arrival of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Cook states, explaining the reason of the 5C’s defeat:

I think the 5s, people are really intrigued with Touch ID […] It’s a major feature that has excited people. And I think that associated with the other things that are unique to the 5s, got the 5s to have a significant amount more attention and a higher mix of sales.

… acquired Beats Music and strengthened Apple’s deep connection between technology and liberal arts. Cook notes:

This is all about music, and we’ve always viewed that music was key to society and culture. Music’s always been at the heart of Apple. It’s deep in our DNA. We’ve sold Macs to musicians since the beginning of Macs. And we accelerated the music industry with the digital music revolution with the iPod and the iTunes music store. So we’ve always loved music and believed in the power of it and believed that it could transcend language, culture and bring people together and produce emotions and deep feelings that other things can’t. And we’ve stood at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.

… introduced the Apple Pay on 20th of October 2014, which not only took Apple into the realms of finance, but which is also the first entirely new service launched under Tim Cook. Cook comments on its rapid growth:

It’s gone faster than I thought it would, much faster actually. […] This was only possible because we could control and design the hardware, the software, and the service. You can imagine trying to do this with several different companies. You would be pulling your hair out doing it.

… made Apple fit for the Chinese market by planning to have 40 stores open by mid 2016, by partnering with China Mobile and by specifically addressing Chinese customers through product design and marketing initiatives. China’s smartphone market is the world’s largest and one of the fastest growing. By October 2015, China accounted for 24 per cent of Apple’s revenue, up from 15 per cent in 2014. Cook says:

China is currently our second-largest market, I believe it will become our first, I believe strongly that it wil […]

and

We are investing in China … for the decades ahead, […]

… introduced the Apple Watch on April 24th 2015. It is the first product which was entirely created under Tim Cook and defines a new product category as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad did. Cook illustrates:

The MP3 industry, before the iPod — we weren’t the first company to make an MP3 [player],[…] There were lots of companies in the… you may not be able to remember that, but there were lots of them out there. They weren’t used very much. They were fundamentally too hard to use, and the user interface was really bad. You almost needed a PhD to use these. They weren’t, they’re not memorable. They didn’t really move the dial.[…] There are several things that are called ‘smart watches’ that are shipping, but I’m not sure you could name any, […] Certainly there’s been none that have changed the way people live their lives…At Apple, that’s our objective: We want to change the way you live your life. And just like this iPad has changed the way you work, and hopefully the way you live, and the iPhone has done that, we see the Apple Watch doing that.

… has found his public voice as a leader and global role model. He is not only the first CEO among the Fortune 500 to publicly announce that he is gay, but addresses subjects ranging from human rights, access to education, female representation on Wall Street, immigration reform and privacy rights. Most notably, he is actively pushing Apple towards an environmental friendly and carbon neutral company by investing in renewable energy and continuously lowering the energy usage of Apple devices. Cook says:

We want to leave a better world than we found it.

and

You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change, […]

…reiterated Apple’s attitude towards privacy, making the company one of the sole companies of Silicon Valley that fights for its user’s privacy rights. Cook asserts:

A few years ago, users of internet services began to realise that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Recently, he restated his position in on 60 Minutes:

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys […] I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security, I think that’s an overly simplistic view. We’re America. We should have both.

…released the MacBook (Retina) on April 10th 2015, making it the first 12-inch laptop Apple has ever produced. According to Phil Schiller, it represents Apple’s vision of the future of notebooks. Tim Cook jokesduring its introduction:

It is unbelievable! Can you even see it?

…released the iPad Pro on November 11th 2015. Compared to Steve Jobs, who saw the iPad as a third product category between the smartphone and the Mac, the iPad Pro is Apple’s first try to blur the line between tablet and laptop. Tim Cook remarks:

Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.

He asserts, however, that these two categories should stay independent:

We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad. Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.

… kept the mojo alive. Apple continues to be one of the most recognized brands in the world. One could argue, that the operation “Replacing Steve Jobs, keeping the good things, get rid of the bad things and meanwhile maintain Apple’s identity” was successful. Cook says:

You know, we want to really enrich people’s lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it’s not our North Star.

and

First and foremost, our job in life is to make the best. We’ve never lost sight of that. We want to give people a good value, and if we can develop something that’s really great, that costs even less than what we’re offering today, then we would do that. What we won’t do is something that’s second rate, or that’s only a good product, not a great product. That’s not what Apple stands for.

Tim Cook as been been named CEO of the year 2014 by CNNPerson of the Year 2014 by Financial Times and has received the world’s highest approval rating from employees in 2012 on Glassdoor (97%).