Fortune: How Tim Cook Is Changing Apple?

Posted on May 25 2012 - 6:11am by Editorial Staff

The FORTUNE magazine latest issue features an in-depth report on Apple’s CEO Tim Cook discussing about his leadership qualities, style, differentiate between how he is different from Steve Jobs, thoughts on Facebook, and lots more:

In mid-April the company took over the Carmel Valley Ranch hotel complex for its first ultra-secretive “Top 100″ meeting since Jobs died. The hush-hush conclave is a rare opportunity for top managers — not necessarily chosen by rank, but rather by the CEO’s assessment of who are the most valuable contributors at any given time — to learn what products and services are on tap for the next year and a half or so. Following tradition, Cook required his executives to travel the 80 miles from Cupertino to the resort on chartered buses so that their comings and goings could be controlled. He also asked several executives to make presentations to the group — just as Jobs had done.

A difference, according to multiple secondhand reports of the retreat, is that the spirit of the meeting was upbeat and even fun. Cook was said to be in a jovial, joke-cracking mood — a stark contrast to the grim and fearful tone Jobs engendered at the meetings. Participants left the Top 100 energized about Apple’s near-term outlook, presumably having seen Apple’s next iPhone and perhaps its long-awaited television product too. One veteran executive was “blown away” by what he had seen, says someone this executive spoke to afterward. Reports another person with access to top-level Apple executives: “People came away totally comfortable with where the company is headed.”

FORTUNE’s Adam Lashinsky details Cook’s February meeting with investors where his leadership style began to emerge.

It’s a subtle but significant change—investors now have the CEO’s ear for the first time in years—and it’s one of many Cook has instituted at Apple as he approaches his one-year mark at the helm… In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It’s almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long-overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy.

Lashinsky writes about product development under Cook and in particular, Siri:

Those looking for deficiencies have found them in Siri, a less-than-perfect product that Apple released with the rare beta label in late 2011, a signal that the service shouldn’t be viewed as fully baked. Siri’s response time has been slow, meaning the servers and software powering it are inadequate.

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