Tim Cook was appointed CEO of Apple 10 years ago. Here are three things he changed


Tim Cook has taken over Apple.

James Martin / CNET

In 2012, less than a year after being named CEO of Apple, Tim Cook sat down for an interview with NBC News. He discussed the basics you’d expect from iPhones and Apple stores, and even a surprise announcement that the tech giant would start assembling Mac computers in Texas rather than China. Cook also made it clear during the interview that if he understood his responsibility to run one of the world’s most watched companies, he wasn’t going to try to emulate his iconic co-founder, Steve. Jobs.

“One of the things he did for me – which removed a gigantic burden that would have existed – was that he told me, a few times before he passed away, never to question what he was doing. would have done, ”Cook said. “Never question what Steve would do; just do what’s right.

Over the past decade, Cook has immersed himself in culture and politics far more than Jobs ever seemed to. He revealed his homosexuality in 2014 and began giving speeches denouncing discrimination across the country. He even walked a tightrope as a social critic of Donald Trump’s policies as president between 2017 and 2021, while also attempting to protect Apple’s business from severe import tariffs.

All the while, Cook has kept Apple’s slow and steady pace of incremental innovation, leading teams that have apparently showcased small improvements over iPhones year after year. Now Apple in the Cook Era Sells Some of the Most Respected Products phone cameras in industry. And it’s one of the few device makers to build the computer processing brains that also power its phones and computers. These chips, called A14 and M1 Apple Silicon chips, are considered among the best, as well.

All of this has helped make Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world. Wall Street puts the company at just under $ 2.5 trillion. And Apple’s $ 57 billion profit out of $ 274.5 billion in revenue last year eclipses the $ 26 billion in profits the company posted ten years ago, out of $ 108.2 billion. of income.

Here are three ways Cook changed Apple.

More political

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President Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook during a visit to a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas in 2019.

Getty Images

Ten years ago, it was very unusual to see a top tech industry leader exchanging anything but nice words with a world leader. But soon after Cook became gay in 2014, he began to speak on a range of human rights issues. Not a year later, he wrote an almost 600-word article that appeared in the Washington Post on discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

“Something very dangerous is happening in the states of the country,” he wrote at the time.

Cook also joined 100 other tech executives from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Yelp who have criticized Indiana and Arkansas laws written to support “religious freedom,” but which critics fear encouraging discrimination against. the LGBTQ community.

During Trump’s tenure, Cook became a regular voice speaking against the president’s immigration measures. He criticized Trump’s statements defending white supremacists and other extremists at a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. And Cook said Trump’s plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military were flawed.

“We are indebted to all who serve,” Cook wrote at the time. “Discrimination against anyone who holds everyone back.”

But Cook was also astute with Trump, attending summits with the president and even inviting him to the company’s Mac Pro manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas.

“He’s a great leader,” Trump once said, according to a Wall Street Journal profile. “Others go out and hire very expensive consultants. Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly.”

All did not go well. More recently, Apple has faced backlash from employees frustrated with the way executives are handling return-to-work policies amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although Apple has pushed back its target date of returning to the office for January of next year at the earliest, executives urged employees to come to the office regularly.

Some employees have also accused the company’s human resources team of mismanaging harassment, sexism, racism and other troubling issues among the company’s approximately 147,000 employees. They banded together on Twitter under the hashtag #AppleToo and created a website to draw attention to their concerns.

The other companies including google, Facebook and Uber have struggled to respond meaningfully to similar criticisms.

More products

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Apple has expanded its product line, in some cases with accessories.

CNET

Apple has long been known for its relatively small product line. Under Jobs, Apple offered consumer laptops and desktops, along with its MacBooks and iMacs, and offered business laptops and desktops, along with the MacBook Pros and Mac Pros. He also sold several different types of iPods, but only one version of the iPhone each year.

Under Cook, Apple expanded its product line to include two standard models of its iPhones, the $ 699 iPhone 12 Mini and the $ 799 iPhone 12, which CNET’s Patrick Holland said is one of the best phones we’ve ever reviewed. There are also two “pro” models, the $ 999 iPhone 12 Pro and the $ 1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max. And there’s the lower-cost $ 399 iPhone SE, which CNET has called the best value for money of any iPhone. when it was released last year.

Apple also sells at least two different variations of its Apple Watch, not counting the partnerships with Nike and Hermes, three different AirPods headphones and four different iPads. And it was Cook who pushed Apple into the smartwatch market in the first place.

It’s hard to argue about Apple’s success with these products, and it looks like the company won’t change its approach much with its rumors. next iPhone 13 and iPad. And although Apple is often criticized for seemingly minimal updates each year, experts say the differences become dramatic when comparing devices further in time.

“That’s what most people don’t understand: Incremental is revolutionary for Apple,” Chris Deaver, who spent four years in human resources working with research teams at Apple, told The Wall Street Journal. Apple, in an article published last year. “Once they fall into a category with a simply elegant solution, they can start to chart the course and own that space. No need to break speed records, just do it organically.”

More ambition

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Cook, announcing Apple TV Plus in 2019.

CNET

Perhaps the most dramatic changes Cook made is in what Apple sells to us.

Jobs reveled in selling products that people could touch and feel, mainly focusing on software as a way to make it work better. He even referred to computer scientist Alan Kay when the first iPhone was introduced in 2007. “’People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware,” Jobs said, quoting Kay. “Alan said it 30 years ago, and that’s how we feel about it.”

Under Cook, Apple’s approach hasn’t changed so much as it has spread. To help Apple products stand out, Cook in 2019 pushed his company to start offering monthly services ranging from a $ 10 per month magazine and newspaper aggregation service called Apple News More $ 5 monthly gaming service called Apple Arcade, and more recently, $ 10 per month Apple Fitness Plus training course.

Cook promised that his company’s $ 5 per month Apple TV Plus video subscription service would “unlike anything that has been done before“when it launched in 2019.

Apple did not specify how many people pay for Apple TV Plus subscriptions, but has increasingly drawn attention to its overall services business, which in the three months ended June 26 this year has generated nearly $ 17.5 billion in revenue. That’s more than Apple’s Mac and iPad business combined. It is also in place almost 33% compared to the same period a year earlier despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the lives of billions of people around the world.

“We continue to remain focused on supporting the global response to the pandemic and providing the best products and services to people,” Cook said on a conference call with analysts in July. “Our biggest inspiration is not the technology itself, but helping people use it in their own lives in ways, big and small, to write a novel or read one to care for a sick patient. or see a doctor virtually to track their heart rate while jogging or training for the Olympics. “


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