Apple has been one of the few companies in Big Tech untouched by mass layoffs. One of the reasons is Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has relentlessly focused on building the business. But there has been a creative cost.
What happens when a company loses a driving force like Steve Jobs? Our Instaread on After Steve lays out the internal and external struggles Apple faced after its iconic founder’s death.
Tim Cook Takes Center Stage
Steve Jobs was the ultimate showman for product presentations. He created tales that explained new devices in a way that was both easy to understand and entrancing. Cook, Jobs’s successor at Apple, was more comfortable evaluating supply chain logistics than talking to a crowd. But when Jobs became sick with pancreatic cancer, Cook had to step into the starring role.
After Jobs died, Cook had to navigate the complexities of loss and leadership with no guidance. He was a private man, but colleagues could tell he was struggling.
Clash of the Titans
Cook had a distant relationship with Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. The inherent tension between operations and design put the two at odds. Cook’s job was to control costs by manufacturing as many products as possible with a minimum number discarded because of defects, while Ive’s team scrutinized products to make sure they were identical to their sketches and models. When Ive identified an imperfection, it disrupted production, eating up time and adding costs.
Apple’s supply chain became a mixture of Cook’s demand for operational excellence and Ive’s insistence on superior design.
About the Author
Tripp Mickle is a tech reporter who covers Apple for The New York Times. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal for eight years, where he wrote about Apple, Google, and other Silicon Valley giants. He has appeared on CNBC and NPR and began his career as a sportswriter, covering the business of the Olympics.
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