Friday, December 21, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook named Time Person of the Year 2012 runner-up

U.S. President Barack Obama won re-election on Nov. 6, 2012. On Dec. 19, 2012, he was named Time's Person of the Year 2012. Lost in the translation, though, was one of the runners-up: Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was anointed legendary giant Steve Jobs' successor in 2011.

Time called Cook a technologist. Certainly, though, Cook is less into technology and gadgetry than his predecessor, Steve Jobs. Cook was COO prior to his elevation to CEO, and is less involved in the day-to-day decisions on design of products.

Some have said Cook inherited a company at the top of its game. That's the same argument once used against George Seifert, who took over the San Francisco 49ers after the retirement of the legendary Bill Walsh. Seifert led the 49ers to two Super Bowl wins.

That being said, the company's last two months have been rough. Since reaching a high of over $700 a share back in September, Apple's stock has dropped nearly $200, and was at nearly $521 in mid-morning trading (Pacific time) on Thursday.

Cook's ascension to CEO was the first in Apple history which did not occur as a sort of blood-letting. As he said,
Each time, the way that the CEO was named was when somebody got fired and a new one came in.

[In Cook's case] Steve wanted the CEO transition to be professional. That was his top thing when he decided to become chairman. I had every reason to believe, and I think he thought, that that was going to be in a long time.
It was, of course, not to be, as Jobs died in October of 2011.

Here, in part, is what Time said about Cook:
Cook, who was Jobs’ COO at Apple, are in a lot of ways diametrical opposites. Jobs was loud, brash, unpredictable, uninhibited and very often unshaven. Cook isn’t. He doesn’t look like the CEO of Apple, he looks more like an Apple product: quiet, tidy, carefully curated, meticulously tooled and at the same time strangely warm and inviting. He doesn’t look like Jobs, he looks like something Jobs would have made. Cook’s flawless cap of white hair could have been designed by Jony Ive and fabricated in China out of brushed aluminum.

And like an Apple product, Cook runs smooth and fast. When Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011, of pancreatic cancer, there were questions about whether Cook could lead Apple. Some, myself included, wondered whether Apple was even a viable company without Jobs. Since then Cook has gone about his business apparently unintimidated by his role as successor to one of the greatest innovators in history. Cook’s record hasn’t been flawless, but he has presided in a masterly way over both a thorough, systematic upgrading of each of the company’s major product lines and a run-up in the company’s financial fortunes that can only be described as historic.
Despite the recent drop in Apple stock price, the company is still the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization. Not only that, it's lead over Exxon Mobil, once the most valuable, is daunting: $83 billion.

Cook was second runner-up for Time Person of the Year. Among the other runners-up:

First Runner-Up: Malala Yousafzai - a now 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for advocating women’s education.

Third Runner-Up: Mohamed Morsi - democratically elected president of Egypt.

Fourth Runner-Up: Fabiola Gianotti - one of CERN's scientists (the Higgs bosun).

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