Every year Apple hosts events to release its products and software. The events become a dynamic session for Apple to convey its ideas, innovations and strategies towards its products & services. Earlier the events were anchored by co-founder, chairman and CEO Steve Jobs, and post his death; Tim Cook took the reins in his hands.
Knowingly or unknowingly, Apple product users and industry experts have started drawing comparison between the two leaders. This has sparked a debate as to who is a better CEO for the company. There are several arguments in favour and against both CEOs, who have done excellent job; in fact Tim Cook is holding the position with much appreciation from the employees of Apple.
Steve Jobs vs. Tim Cook
Both leaders have their own ideology for product innovation, marketing strategy and customer satisfaction. As Apple fanboys, we have always harboured a soft corner for Steve; however, we don’t want to give any unfair treatment to Mr Cook. We provide an in-depth analysis of the debate on what market leaders have to say about this comparison. An infographic is also helpful to clear the doubts.
Steve Jobs believed in creating “Insanely Great Products” at Apple. He would put his heart and soul into the making of any product. If an employee is on Christmas vacation, he would call him back to make necessary changes overnight. He wouldn’t care about the psychological damage of employees. Thus, employees would become mere facilitator in developing products because Steve’s goal was to create a killer product or service for consumers worldwide.
Tim Cook, on the other hand, is more worried about everything in the company. He understands the needs of employees working for Apple and showed more social responsibility by improving work culture. This management change has influenced Apple’s innovation strategy, which was rebellious under the leadership of Steve Jobs, who was mad about product innovation and development. Cook failed to show that madness; rather his gentle approach made the company a conventional one. Industry experts noticed that under the leadership of Cook, Apple began to upgrade the existing product line instead of releasing revolutionary products like iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
According to an employee of Apple, Steve Jobs was a “wartime CEO”. When Jobs returned to Apple, the company was passing through its bad phase. And perhaps therefore, Jobs showed extraordinary guts and aggression to bring Apple up from the swamp. His aggressive stance was appreciated then, but now that company has achieved reputation as world’s number one in communication technology, people are critical of the same aggression, which should be softened now.
Cook, on other hand, looks calm and composed, and this posture has shifted the company to gentler. Wakabayashi was critical when he said that Steve was only interested in developing great products and in his pursuit of excellence, he sidelined employees' interest as they were mere facilitators to fulfil Steve’s goal. While Cook is more worried about everything going on in the company.
Before Cook, Apple was in complete financial and operational muddle. Though we have to accept Steve Jobs' visionary leadership and genius product design, the quality was compromised, availability of product was terrible and costs were running out of control. Apple was a player in an industry which was steady. With the entry of Cook, everything changed.
Cook became the change agent in marketing & cost-cutting strategies. With his experience at IBM, where he expedited supply chain management, Cook introduced some drastic changes in integrated marketing, product design and manufacturing in Apple. His idea was to offer “simple solutions to complex problems” and to make it possible, he launched grand marketing campaigns, colossal engineering feats and cost saving methods.
If your thinking is dominated by your heart, you would surely upvote Steve Jobs as a visionary leader; and if your mind is doing all the thinking, Tim Cook would be an ideal leader of Apple for you. And we always listen to our hearts – hence, Steve Jobs is our hero and ideal.