Five Years As Apple CEO, Trying To Fill Steve Jobs' Shoes: Tim Cook Boosted Profits, But What About Innovation?


This week, Tim Cook will celebrate five years as Apple's CEO, after the late Steve Jobs recommended the board of directors to appoint Cook as his permanent successor.

On Aug. 24, 2011, Jobs stepped down from the reins of the iPhone manufacturer and appointed Tim Cook as his handpicked successor. Six weeks after the change in leadership, Jobs passed away.

Fast forward to 2016, when Apple registers as the biggest global company by market value and maintains a high level of leverage in the tech world. During the past fiscal year, the company banked $53 billion in net income. To put it in perspective, the sum trumps the joined earnings of technology firms Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

It is not less true that Apple's growth is decelerating as its stock is stagnating, and quite a few analysts expressed concerns about the next steps of the company. One question has been on everyone's lips lately: are Apple's glory days in the past, never to return?

Cook saw that Apple's product family grew under his stewardship, but each category has its own set of challenges to overcome.

The iPhone, for example, makes up about two-thirds of the company's general revenue, with Apple recently reporting that it reached the 1 million sold iPhones barrier. However, the seemingly unstoppable success of the smartphone can bite Apple in the derriere.

As sales of the handset are consistently slowing down, Apple has reported two consecutive quarterly drops in revenue. The slump comes after 13 years of uninterrupted growth, causing some to raise eyebrows. The iPad, too, registers low demand and the Apple Watch is still far from becoming a ragingly popular gadget.

Cook's leadership contributed to another unexpected movement in Wall Street. As the CEO showered investors with billions of dollars in dividends and share buybacks, Apple became a value stock rather than a growth one. Since 2011, the value of Apple shares increased more than twofold, outpacing the S&P 500 but slightly staying behind the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite.

The valuation of the stock is not expensive, but that is hardly news to anyone familiar with the matter. What might be pulling down the stock value is the generalized impression that Apple lacks any aces up its sleeve, meaning no revolutionary, innovative product will exist in its manufacturing bench anytime soon.

Cook assured his employees in his first official email as CEO that Apple "is not going to change."

However, change leads to evolution, and that might be exactly what the company needs.

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