With the resignation of iconic Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday, COO Tim Cook was promoted to the top spot — triggering a flurry of "will Apple survive?" stories. Known for being an "operations genius," Cook has ably filled in while Jobs has taken multiple medical leaves, but some question Cook's worth as a visionary. What should Cook do to keep Apple on top? Commentators weigh in:
1. Hang on to top talent: "Ensuring that Steve Jobs' departure as chief executive is the only major exit from the company" is one of Cook's top orders of business, says Garett Sloane in the New York Post. A number of "key players" have left Apple of late, most notably retail chief Ron Johnson, and SVP of industrial design Jonathan Ive has recently "flirted" with leaving. "While no one is talking about a brain drain at Apple, there is the possibility that more executives, including those who were passed over for the top job, will leave." Cook needs to make sure that doesn't happen.
2. Set an iPhone 5 release date and build an Apple cellular network: "Memo to no-longer-interim CEO Tim Cook: Immediately announce an iPhone 5 release date so you can put the news of your predecessor's resignation behind you," says Johnny Major at Beatweek Magazine. Then, get busy building a cellular network to compete with AT&T, Verizon, and company with all that cash Apple has burning a hole in its corporate pocket — a big, bold, but logical next step. While Apple could shrug off iPhone 5 delays before, with Jobs stepping down, it's integral to the company's success to get it out there ASAP.
3. Stop giving products stupid names: Cook can easily remedy one of Jobs' worst tendencies: The "terrible" names Apple too often gives its excellent products, the iPad as case in point, says Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at Business Insider. The company is known for "its attention to detail and marketing prowess," but it has a "haphazard and lousy" relationship to the English language. Enough with all the lowercase "i's" and cutesy, meaningless, single words like "Ping" and "Exposé." Microsoft isn't perfect, but at least it's clear what the "start button" and "task bar" do.
4. Be open about his sexuality: Cook "has never publicly acknowledged his homosexuality," and it's time he came out of the glass closet, says Daniel Villarreal at Queerty. Apple brass have said they'd support him, though there is some worry that it might skew the brand's perception. I don't think it would have a negative effect — it's "somewhat of a gay brand, with its emphasis on cutting edge technology and design." The company already supports equal rights and benefits for same-sex partners of employees and has contributed to gay causes. Cook "could wield his mighty influence behind the scenes to create some very positive changes for the entire queer community."
5. Be himself: "It's better to be different than a second-rate version of what the last person was," says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Stanford professor of organization behavior, as quoted in The New York Times. The calm, soft-spoken Cook has the advantage of being the opposite of the temperamental Jobs, and he should capitalize on that fact, not try to be a "Steve Light."