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Apple CEO Dares To Be Different from Steve Jobs
Apple CEO Dares To Be Different from Steve Jobs

By Michael Liedtke
May 14, 2014 9:34AM

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Tim Cook is straying from Steve Jobs' cash-hoarding habits by committing to return $130B to Apple shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks. Cook has orchestrated a stock split and agreed to match employees' charitable contributions up to $10,000 annually. Apple also has displayed more social responsibility under Cook.
 



"Think different" became Apple's creed during the late Steve Jobs' reign as CEO. Now, chief executive Tim Cook is embracing the idea while making decisions that would have seemed crazy to his fabled predecessor.

Apple's pending purchase of headphone maker and streaming music company Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion is just the latest example of Cook's deviation from Jobs, who had so much confidence in his company's innovative powers that he saw little sense in spending large amounts of money on acquisitions.

Cook became chief executive in late August 2011, roughly six weeks before Jobs died. But in a number of ways, he is just beginning to put his own imprint on Apple. Cook is straying from Jobs' cash-hoarding habits by committing to return $130 billion to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks. He has orchestrated a company stock split and agreed to match employees' charitable contributions up to $10,000 annually.

Under Cook's leadership, Apple also has displayed more social responsibility by working to improve labor conditions in the overseas factories that assemble its devices and taking steps to reduce pollution caused by its data centers and gadgets.

The shift in management philosophy has resulted in an odd twist: Apple Inc.'s pace of innovation has slowed and it now looks more like a conventional company than the corporate rebel Jobs tried to cultivate. Instead of releasing revolutionary gadgets such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple has been mostly upgrading existing products and figuring out ways to manage its bulging bank account since Cook took over.

"Jobs wanted Cook to step out and be different," says longtime technology analyst Rob Enderle. "But I think he wanted (Cook) to do the things that were central to the business, not things that Jobs thought were stupid."

Cook has repeatedly sought to assure investors and customers that Apple remains focused on inventing "insanely great" products, even though the company's last breakthrough, the iPad, came out in April 2010 ��" 18 months before Jobs died of cancer.

In the meantime, a host of technology companies have forged ahead with wearable devices, including Google Glass and Samsung's line of Gear smartwatches. Also stealing the innovation spotlight: Internet connected housewares and appliances like the Nest thermostat, whose maker was founded by former Apple designer, Tony Fadell. Google purchased Nest for $3.2 billion in January.

"We've got some great things that we're working on that I'm very, very proud of and very, very excited about," Cook told analysts in a conference call last month. "But, for us, we care about every detail and when you care about every detail and getting it right, it takes a bit longer to do that and that's always been the case." (continued...)

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© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

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Oliver M.:

Posted: 2014-05-15 @ 2:49am PT
Steve Jobs was always a visionary - but even he got things wrong. One area that he excelled (above and beyond Tim Cook) was in his presentation secrets - see here: http://whycode.com/home.aspx?kgid=23346



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