Less than 24 hours after the jarring revelation that Apple’s revered leader, Steve Jobs, would be stepping down from his post as CEO, his replacement has set the stage for the beloved company’s continued growth and success.
Tim Cook, who previously served as Apple’s COO and as interim CEO during Jobs’ previous medical leaves of absence, sent a note to all Apple employees today promising them the company they knew under Steve Jobs won’t change under his leadership.
The note, originally obtained by Ars Technica, reaffirms Jobs’ commitment in his resignation letter that Apple will continue to be a successful and innovative leader in the always-competitive tech sector:
I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.
Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.
I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.
I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.
Cook is no stranger to the tech community, often appearing alongside Steve Jobs at Apple events and giving important keynote speeches in Jobs’ absence. Cook has been a part of the Apple team since 1998, joining as Senior Vice President of Global Operations, and rising to his previously-held position of Chief Operating Officer in 2005.
Cook’s execution of supplier contract negotiations has made it virtually impossible for competing firms to deliver comparable products at a competitive price. Cook previously held executive positions at Compaq and IBM.
With Jobs remaining as Chairman, and a suite of Jobs-era products in the pipeline, Apple likely won’t even see a hiccup for the next few years. Jobs created a system of excellence and creativity and instilled these values in every Apple employee, and Tim Cook will continue to execute Apple’s mission of innovation and growth. Investors and insiders are confident in Cook’s ability to lead – Apple stock is down just 1 percent through midday trading Thursday.
Earlier this year, after two short months on the market, Microsoft decided to retire its “Kin”, a social media-centered mobile phone. In spite of strong reviews, the phone sold poorly, and Microsoft faced a key decision for its future in a market they had experienced relatively little success. On Thursday, a key executive in Microsoft’s mobile business revealed that the company will no longer pursue development of a new smartphone device.
The statement from Tivanka Ellawala, Microsoft’s CFO of mobile communications, comes at a critical juncture for the company’s efforts to become a true player in the mobile industry. Microsoft has developed Windows Phone 7 software, which has been promised to be a drastic improvement upon earlier versions of Windows’ mobile OS. Microsoft has thus far refused to reveal the manufacturers of the phones that will utilize the Windows Phone 7 software, but the company included hardware specifications, which Ellawala allows for “more predictability in what it takes to make the hardware work with the software.”
One of the crucial elements that the success of Windows Phone 7 hinges on is the adoption by the developer community. In an effort to stimulate development of mobile applications for WP7, Microsoft released a software development kit intended to help developers maximize revenue earned from advertisements.
To many investors, the shuttering of the failed Kin line was indicative of Steve Ballmer’s willingness to move on from products and projects that are losing money. In the past, Ballmer has been criticized for holding on too long to projects that were outside of Microsoft’s areas of expertise and were bleeding money. As Ellawala noted, Microsoft is in the software business, and that is where they need to maintain their focus. When one explores Microsoft’s efforts in mobile, the slang term “diworseification” comes to mind.
In spite of record cash flows and revenues, Microsoft’s stock price has remained relatively flat over a five-year period, getting lapped by competitors like Apple and Google. With the booming success of Halo: Reach, growing anticipation for Windows Phone 7, and the enticing prospects of an enterprise PC refresh cycle, Microsoft is in a healthy position moving forward.
Last Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Google and Verizon Wireless were closing in on a deal that tested the boundaries of the FCC and threatened to drastically change the internet as we have known it. The two titans of their respective industries had reportedly agreed to “speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege” (NY Times 8/4/10).
Theoretically, Verizon could speed up access to content from Google sites like YouTube in return for a fee charged to Google. This would create a division between the average user and the elite who could afford to pay a premium for higher quality service. This story hinted at what would be the fundamental shift that proponents of net neutrality have feared for years. But was the story truly worth the hype?
Both companies vehemently denied the NY Times report, with Google (@GooglePubPolicy) tweeting: “@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.”
Similarly, Verizon Wireless dismissed the story, with a company executive explaining: “The NYT article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken. It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose. As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect” on the company’s Public Policy blog.
In a joint public policy proposal released on Monday, Google and Verizon announced what they dubbed as a legal framework for potential traffic regulation and quality of service policies. Most importantly, they explicitly insisted upon complete transparency in any regulation of traffic and content distribution. The true core of the controversy surrounding this proposal revolved around the concept of net neutrality and whether or not Google and Verizon had turned their back on their stated desires to maintain a fair and open internet. The newest developments reveal that the policy proposal won’t give net neutrality advocates much ammunition against the two companies when it comes to personal computer broadband use. Wireless broadband connections, however, may be a different story.
The top executives at Google and Verizon attributed the lack of application of this proposal in the mobile sector to the “still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace”. This has some proponents of net neutrality arguing that the proposal intentionally ignores the future, allowing the companies to forge profitable, non-net neutral alliances as the mobile markets mature down the line.
To date, nothing has been implemented and any legislation is likely to take considerable time to push through Congress. I don’t believe either bigh-profile company would risk violating the trust of their customers or risk exposing their brands to further scrutiny by concealing back door deals for short-term maintenance of public perception. If Google and Verizon are adamant that they are committed to an open internet, we should take their word for it. As they say, actions speak louder than words, and we will ultimately judge this entire situation as it develops and matures.
What are your thoughts about the proposal and about net neutrality in general? Share your opinions with your comments below!