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Did Steve Jobs Screw Up By Grooming Tim Cook As His Successor?

Corporate successions are never pretty. There are always going to be a lot of questions around the new CEOs as the old CEOs fade into the sunset. That has been the story ever since. It’s not gonna change now. One of the biggest questions swirling in the technology landscape is regarding the current CEO of Apple computer, Tim Cook. Let’s be honest, Tim Cook has had some big boots to fill when Steve Jobs died and Cook was supposed to shepherd Apple into a bolder and brighter future. It’s very hard to do an anchor on a Steve Jobs after all. Regardless of what his haters would say, Steve Jobs is Apple corporation. Sure, he didn’t really come up with any of the earth shuttering technologies that Apple had in many cases according to his detractors, Steve Jobs, actually, got in the way of Apple technology moving forward at certain crucial points.

Be that as it may, Steve Jobs was the main evangelists for Apple (that is his job), he was the uber salesman, he sold the world on the concept of buying Apple products. How did he do this? Very simple -he embodied the American drive for innovation and technical excellence. His almost prophetic image and persona was all about innovation, innovation, innovation. In other words, there’s no half stepping with Apple. It either creates new world or it doesn’t. It either changes the game or it doesn’t even play the game. That is the high level of expectation Steve Jobs wrapped around the overall Apple brand. Now steps in Tim Cook, who is more of an incremental person. He’s more of a development person so there is this glaring gap between the expectation of the Apple brand and how Apple is currently being run. So the question then arises that Steve Jobs screw up by grooming Tim Cook as his successor. The bottom line is that Tim Cook has to really play up the innovation angle for Apple to really stay alive. Let’s face it, the big difference between an Apple product and other products is that Apple logo you see at the back of the product. Really, that’s all it boils down to you paying premium of several hundred dollars just to get the privilege of logging around a product with that Apple logo.

In other words, you’re buying into the hype that Apple is a visionary company, that Apple is a company that’s all about innovation. Now, if you have a CEO that doesn’t really embody these values and doesn’t do a good job communicating, why Apple still remains the paragon of technological innovation and pioneering work? The questions will continue to hound Apple until people would suddenly wake up and realize that they are paying $700 in extra premium for computing power or mobile communication power they can get elsewhere for cheap. So that is the big challenge facing Apple right now. It really is an existential crisis fo the company. How does it justify its existing branding while trying to pursue a developmental course that really is all about incremental change rather than some earth shuttering, almost mesianic game change in technology movements, like brought about by the Iphone in 2007 and more recently, by the Ipad. That is the multi-billion dollar question hanging over the head of Tim Cook.

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