Is Tim Cook Running Apple Better than Steve Jobs Did?

Those impatiently awaiting the next big thing that will change or reinvent the industry are finding Tim Cook an easy target to throw rotten tomatoes at. What they are missing, though, is how Cook is transforming the giant that Apple has become during the past few years. And there are plenty of things his critics may have missed when insisting on viewing new products. Quartz points to only a handful of essential moves Cook made, but does not give the credit he deserves.

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Since Cook took over, Apple has managed to grow: it is now able to deliver 250 million units/devices each year without running into problems, which is twice as many as four years ago. Also, instead of taking away resources from the Mac team, the Mac and iOS team are now working together more effectively than they ever did, thanks to Tim Cook’s executive reshuffle. And the $3.2 billion Beats deal? Some say Jobs would never have agreed to that move, while others say he would have.

There are also anecdotes of improvements in employee morale, which could potentially help Apple recruit new talent—or at least reduce churn. “I really got a sense talking to people at Apple last week at WWDC that they’re happy—happy in a way they haven’t been again,” Gruber said on the most recent episode of his podcast (this discussion starts around the 42-minute mark). “In fact, one friend literally said the words ‘It’s fun again,’ which I thought was pretty interesting.”

While skeptics can point to the slowing metrics, some of these were inevitable, such as the maturing of the smartphone market, the Quartz article highlights. But if the rumours are true – and information from multiple sources apparently confirm that they are – the next big product launch is on the horizon: Apple will launch the iWatch. It won’t have a huge financial impact, but it is a great start.

Meanwhile, as Quartz’s Matt Phillips writes, Cook has also done a good job working Wall Street, transforming Apple “from the world’s premier growth stock into, arguably, the world’s premier dividend play.” It has bought back shares and just split its stock, an effort Apple hopes will make shares “more accessible to a larger number of investors.” Shares have recently rallied—they’re not far from their all-time high—and are also still up significantly since Jobs’ retirement in 2011, shortly before his death.

But until the product is unveiled, skeptics have their reasons to be critical and spread the news that Apple is in permanent decline. But in many ways, Cook is running Apple better than Jobs ever did, Dan Frommer of Quartz concludes.