Giant Shoes

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SummaryTim Cook had huge shoes to fill as Apple’s CEO, but Jobs wouldn’t have been disappointed in him

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” So wrote Sir Isaac Newton in a letter to a friend. When Apple CEO Tim Cook took over his position two years ago, his vantage point was similarly elevated. That, of course, was due to the contributions of his predecessor and the company’s founder, the late Steve Jobs. October 5 marked the two-year anniversary of Jobs’ passing, and it serves as a convenient moment to reflect on his company’s progress since. While it may be tempting to leap straight to mobile devices, it is instructive to see what is going on in the PC market—Apple, after all, was founded in that area. From the looks of it, even though the computer market is in steady decline, Apple itself is doing far better than its competitors like HP, Lenovo and Dell. According to market analyst firms like Gartner and Asymco, while Apple accounts for only 5% of units shipped in the computer market in the US, it captures a whopping 45% of the profits. It looks like Steve Jobs’ policy of premium pricing is still holding strong and delivering results.

But that’s in the computer market. Despite the fact that Apple’s iPhone line generates more revenue than Samsung’s entire mobile division, declining market share—currently around 15%—has forced Apple to release a cheaper iPhone, the 5C. In the tablet market, even though the iPad still leads the pack in terms of revenue, Apple was still forced to address the competition by introducing the smaller and cheaper iPad Mini. One wonders whether Jobs would have done things differently. However, in Tim Cook’s defence, while he may lack Jobs’ sheer creativity and vision, he has nevertheless done well in steering Apple along the course left for it by its founder.

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