Peter Cohan believes that the Apple board should oust Cook and replace him with the company’s product guru, Jony Ive. While even Cohan admits that it is “unclear whether Ive has the skills to manage Apple,” his opinion is worth discussing nonetheless.
According to the report, Cook has largely failed because he has been unable to “invent a new category-killing product,” like Steve Jobs did on many occasions. As such, while Cook has done a “decent job of managing Apple’s supply chain,” Cohan believes that he has yet to “demonstrate that he can create a big new revenue source.”
Cohan’s narrative sounds a lot like the one that I published earlier this week. I had said that Apple should focus less on how to make a better 7-inch tablet or 5-inch smartphone. Instead, I felt that Apple should once again figure out what consumers want before they even know it.
However, while Cohan suggests that the only way to do this is to dump Cook, I take a slightly different approach.
It is very easy to blame Cook for Apple’s recent woes. However, that probably wouldn’t be fair. This is especially true given that Cook has the unfortunate task of following a legend like Jobs, whose stature in death seems to be growing with each passing year.
Instead, much of this has to do with an expanding smartphone and tablet marketplace. And one that Jobs never had to deal with.
On one final note, one cannot heap praise on Jobs while forgetting about Cook’s past contributions.
Between 2004 and 2010, Cook was temporarily in charge of Apple three times while Jobs was on medical leave. During this time, the company released the iPhone and iPad, and saw a resurgence of the company’s line of Mac products. In other words, Cook had a lot to do with this success too.
In terms of whether Ive should replace Cook, I think that this type of talk is premature, at best. The Apple CEO only announced his heavily-reported management shakeup in late October.
The fruits of that shakeup, which gave Ive more say on iOS and OS X, won’t even be realized until iOS 7 is released later this year. And that says nothing about new versions of the iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini, or new products such as the long-rumored iTV.
Therefore, before proclaiming “The King is dead. Long live the King,” we should probably give Cook a little bit more time to shine.