Apple CEO Tim Cook, though he’s been at Apple since the last century and studied the Apple Way next to co-founder Steve Jobs for years, once worked at IBM. Cook understands Big Blue and the corporate mentality and that might explain why Apple and IBM have become so cozy the past year.
The Warming Frost
Despite Pink and Taligent, Apple and IBM have never had a good relationship until Cook took over Apple’s reins after Jobs died in 2011. It’s Tim Cook’s show now and the show has expanded the company’s revenue and profits, as well as how the company does business with former competitors.
IBM doesn’t make PCs anymore, so there’s little direct competition with Apple. Steve Jobs company was finally outed after Apple removed the price tags on most software, including OS X. Apple is a hardware company. IBM is a software and services company.
Apple’s newfound openness to do business with former competitors extends elsewhere. During the last Apple show ‘n tell when the Watch, iOS 9, and OS X El Capitan were launched alongside the iPad Pro announcement, who was on stage showing their business chops?
The personal computer industry has just gone through gut wrenching changes which have altered the landscape and create a number of strange bedfellows relationships. Microsoft slumbered for more than a decade only to wake up and realize the mobile device industry left them behind, and now they are playing catch up, taking risks, and doing much of what they should have done years before the iPhone was launched.
Nemesis, competitor, and vendor Samsung still owes Apple a few hundred million dollars for intellectual property theft, but Cook seems more intent on marginalizing the Galaxy smartphone maker than going thermonuclear war on the Korean conglomerate. Apple’s relationship with Google has soured in recent years, again thanks to the company’s Android OS, which is little more than a visual copy of iOS, with FrankenJava bolted onto FrankenLinux to form a free mobile operating system.
Instead of a public tirade against specific competing entities, Cook seems more intent on getting even the old fashioned way– by burying competitors in Apple’s wake, and treating non-competing entities as friends and partners.
Where did all this begin? I suspect it began in the waning days of Steve Jobs reign where Cook was called upon to keep the ship running while Jobs’ health problems kept him at home or in recovery.
Remember the Cook Doctrine from 2009?
We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.
We’re constantly focusing on innovating.
We believe in the simple, not the complex.
We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.
We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.
We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.
And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.
And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.
Indeed, Apple has done extremely well since then, with the largest revenue and profit gains in the company’s history. While Jobs’ vision of a technology future pushed the Mac, iPhone, and iPad to greatness, it is the Cook Effect which has made Apple the profit machine it is, the world’s most valuable company, and the envy of the supply chain industry.
Apple may have been a mover and a shaker under Jobs’ rule, but the company is a financial and technology monster under Cook.