Fortune has a lengthy profile of Tim Cook on tap in this week’s issue, compiling reports of the CEO’s performance through the first seven months and how that has affected Apple. Mostly there’s nothing new; Cook is an accessible, efficient CEO who is putting his expertise in factory production to good use. But there are a few bits of interest, including murmurs of Apple’s future products.
As Fortune describes, Apple holds an annual event where it invites, according to its own criteria, the “Top 100” executives to check out the company’s upcoming roadmap.
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.”
Obviously there too many unknowns to form any definitive opinions, but for those who feared that the innovation and quality would evaporate from Apple products once Jobs died, even little nebulous anecdotes like this have to be encouraging.
But there are still concerns as well. For all the positive opinions about Cook’s down-to-earth leadership style, Fortune says the engineers who thrived under Jobs are concerned that the increasingly corporate personality the company is taking on may not be for the best. For example, the growing presence of project managers and supply chain execs within the company, who are purported to be in every important meeting.
Indeed, allowing anyone to interfere with the creative-genius engineers is anathema to the Steve Jobs ethos at Apple. Sniffs one engineer: “This leads to more sharing of resources, which leads inevitably to fighting, which leads to weaselly excuses.” They are normal corporate concerns, in other words, and very un-Apple-like.
But all in all, the general consensus is that Cook is still running a steady ship where employees are happy and shareholders are satisfied. But it will be the next several months of possible new products from Apple that will be the most telling. In any case, check out rest of Fortune’s profile here, as it’s chock full of info vital to understanding the world’s biggest company. [Fortune]