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How Tim Cook is making his mark at Apple

Tim Cook CEO of Apple (Reuters image)Steve Jobs is a hard act to follow. He was as feared and revered as they come and continues to cast a big shadow over Apple. The man assigned to keep Apple going is CEO Tim Cook, a 14-year veteran of the company and its former chief operating officer. Everything Apple and Cook do are constantly compared to what people think Jobs would have done. It’s not an easy role to fill, but so far, Tim Cook is performing quite well. Though he hasn’t launched any breakthrough products of his own yet, the company’s sales continue to climb and almost everything seems to be going off without a hitch.

Adam Lashinsky of Fortune has written a fantastic feature on “How Tim Cook is changing Apple,” which tracks the many small, and maybe large, ways he’s changed Apple in the nine months (to the day) that he’s been in charge of the world’s most valuable tech company. There is no company as watched and picked apart as Apple (except maybe Google), but Cook seems to have already begun making some significant changes at Apple.

Here are a few things that Cook has changed:

Investor respect: Jobs always loathed investors and the stock market, but Cook has issued a dividend and has personally spoken with large investors who come to speak with Apple.

More structure: Cook seems to have implemented a lot of operational changes, changing the way meetings are held and making sure that global-supply and project managers are present at top meetings. In the Jobs era, engineers and designers ruled the company. The company is getting a bit more corporate.

Nicer, more laid back: Apple employees seemed to think of Jobs as a diety of sorts. They thought he was a complete genius, but were scared to death of him. He was known to fire people on the spot. Cook is much more laid back. He has been spotted having lunch with random employees and employees at Apple seem a bit less…afraid. Whether that’s a good thing, we don’t know. Cook has also created a charity matching program for employees.

What would Tim Cook do?

There are many smaller examples of Cook’s changes littered throughout the article, which is a great read. Of course, Cook has also taken pains to retain the laser focus Jobs was known for, and many other aspects of Apple remain intact since the transition. However, it is becoming clear that Cook is acting on Steve Jobs orders. He seems to be running the company more and more in his own way instead of constantly asking “What would Steve do?”. Cook’s biggest challenge is still ahead, as the company prepares to introduce entirely new products, which could include a new TV set, and the new iPhone. 

(Image via Reuters)