Pundit absurdly suggests booting Tim Cook and promoting Jony Ive

Tue, Jan 22, 2013


Depending on what you read, it may seem as if Apple as a company is being torn apart at the seams. No one’s buying iPhones anymore. iPhone 5 demand is waning. Samsung is the new king of the mountain. The company is doomed without Steve Jobs. Shares of Apple keep on plummeting.

Indeed, there are no shortage of shortsighted explanations as why analysts and many in the tech world have seemingly abruptly branded Apple the red headed step child not worthy of our attention and intrigue.

That’s all well and good, and truth be told, issues surrounding such things as iPhone 5 demand are worthy of discussion. Similarly, Apple’s next big thing, whatever it may be, is also worthy of dissection, and yes, skepticism.

That said, Apple as it stands now is sitting pretty. Despite its floundering share price – which may be the result of market manipulation – Apple is poised to release another blockbuster earnings release tomorrow. Indeed, earlier today Verizon noted that 63% of their smartphone activations for the quarter gone by were iPhones.

Apple needs to continue to grow, there’s no doubt about that. But the fact that some people are already saying the Apple party is over is a bit misguided.

As an example, Peter Cohan of Forbes recently penned a piece articulating why Tim Cook should be replaced with Jony Ive. How absurd is that?

But Cook has yet to demonstrate that he can create a big new revenue source. He has proven that he can oversee a botched new product introduction though — witness the six epic fails of Apple Maps. He can also fire people who take the blame for embarrassing him.

But can he do what Steve Jobs did so often — invent a new category-killing product? Since September 2012, Apple stock has lost $100 billion worth of its value, falling 29%. While nothing can make up for the loss that investors who bought at Apple’s peak price — perhaps investors should throw in the towel on Cook.

That seems to be what Apple’s board should do. But the problem is figuring out who could do a better job than Cook.

One person to consider is Jony Ive — Jobs’ product design partner. He was previously responsible for Apple hardware design and in December was promoted to be in charge of the look and feel of its software as well.

What’s funny is that Cohan quickly goes on to question whether or not Ive has the skills to manage Apple.

When you take into account Jobs’ many months of sick leave, it’s apparent that Cook knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s steered Apple’s ship through turbulent times before and, importantly, he recognizes that he’s not the guy with the design chops to guide Apple to its next great revenue stream. That’s exactly why he recently gave Jony Ive additional responsibilities where he’ll now be responsible for the look and feel of Apple’s software as well.

Cook has previously explained in interviews the impetus behind Ive’s expanded role:

Jony, who I think has the best taste of anyone in the world and the best design skills, now has responsibility for the human interface. I mean, look at our products. (Cook reaches for his iPhone.) The face of this is the software, right? And the face of this iPad is the software. So it’s saying, Jony has done a remarkable job leading our hardware design, so let’s also have Jony responsible for the software and the look and feel of the software, not the underlying architecture and so forth, but the look and feel.

Is Ive up for the challenge? I guess we’ll be finding out when Apple’s new software updates make their debut, but to get Cook out of there – who has had as much to do with Apple’s profitability over the years as anyone – to make room for Ive who is already taking care of the aesthetic issues is mind bogglingly numb.

Furthermore, his quip about Cook’s ability to fire people who “take the blame for embarrassing him” fully demonstrates just how misinformed Cohan is. If you recall, Scott Forstall was unceremoniously let go precisely because he was unwilling to take any of the blame for Apple’s Maps issues.


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