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Spotlight

Tim Cook

Two decades ago, when Tim Cook was a business student at Duke, he “carefully drafted a business plan for the next 25 years of his life,” said Joseph Menn in the Financial Times. That was typical of the former industrial engineer’s methodical approach to business and life. But his plan went out the window when, in 1998, he sat down for a life-changing job interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “Working at Apple was never in any plan that I’d outlined for myself,” Cook said last year, “but was without a doubt the best decision that I ever made.”

Cook, 50, is running Apple while Jobs takes an indef­inite medical leave, said Miguel Helft in The New York Times. The two men are very different. Where Jobs can be “mercurial,” Cook is “polite and soft-spoken.” Where Jobs is obsessed with the design of Apple’s products, Cook obsesses over “the less glamorous minutiae of Apple’s operations.” Apple employees and investors don’t expect Cook to match his boss’s “inventiveness, charisma, and uncanny ability” to divine the wishes of consumers. But given Jobs’ uncertain prognosis, they’re urgently wondering if he can assemble a team to fill the creative vacuum left by Jobs’ absence.

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