Fortune Magazine has Tim Cook on the cover of the June 11 issue with Editor-at-large Adam Lashinsky’s feature under the headline How Tim Cook is Changing Apple.

Not only does the cover photo look fabulous, the story itself offers previously unknown details behind Steve Jobs’ successor.

One of my favorite highlights: Cook often sits with random employees at lunch.

So, what’s Cook been up to, how about the driving force behind his management style and just how effective he’s been at replacing a legend…

According to an excerpt over at Fortune, Cook is determined to put his own stamp at Apple rather than be content living under the shadow of his predecessor, the late co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

Some of his moves “will court controversy with the Apple faithful”, Lashinsky writes, because “he doesn’t apologize for charting a new course”.

Cook asked employees in a speech at a special ceremony in Cupertino dedicated to honoring the life of Steve Jobs that they honor one of Jobs’ dying requests, “that Apple’s management not ask “What would Steve do?” and instead do what’s best for Apple”.

Be that as it may, Apple’s inevitably changing from a Steve Jobs-focused company to a more regular corporation abiding to some of the rules of business world that Jobs just loved to break.

For example, acting under tremendous pressure from the investment community, Cook and the Apple board greenlighted a dividend and share repurchase program.

The deal would have hardly went through under Jobs’s watch as Apple had not been paying a cash dividend since 1995.

Some other signs that Apple is becoming a more normal company.

When Adrian Perica, a former Goldman Sachs banker, joined Apple several years ago, he was the only executive whose sole remit was dealmaking. Steve Jobs basically ran mergers and acquisitions for Apple.

Today Perica heads a department with three corporate-development professionals under him and a staff supporting them, so that Apple can work on three deals simultaneously.

Here’s the cover of the June 11, 2012 issue.

You gotta love the Photoshop job…

In what some might deem a worrying sign, Lashinsky cites a former employee who observes that “Apple is becoming “far more traditional”, meaning more MBAs, more process, and more structure.

Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011, is also quoted:

It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine. I’ve been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management.

When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority.

This was to be expected.

Some other highlights:

 • Cook has huge respect for Facebook, “with which Apple could work more closely”
 • as for Amazon, Cook deems it “a different kind of competitor” that has “different strengths” from Apple and that “will sell a lot” of Kindles
• he used to work at a paper mill in Alabama and an aluminum plant in Virginia
• he vacations at the Canyon Ranch resort in Arizona, where guests who have seen him there say he keeps to himself, often dining alone, reading on his iPad
• during a meeting with large investors at Apple’s Town Hall conference room, one of the investors said Cook “was in complete control and knew exactly who he was and where he wanted to go, he answered every question head-on and didn’t skirt any issue”

Cook, 51, is a detail-oriented executive whose love for spreadsheets is legendary, as is his penchant for operational efficiencies.

During his tenure as Apple’s operations chief, Cook was largely attributed with running the trains on time while reducing Apple’s inventory from weeks and months to days.

“Inventory is fundamentally evil”, he used to say.

And it’s exactly these traits that Apple needs at this critical juncture in its history.

But even though it’s still business as usual at Apple, I think we can all agree the company is in fact changing and becoming more of a ‘normal’ American corporation.

Let’s just hope that Cook knows what he’s doing and that all those new managers and hire-ups and corporate structure won’t kill the creativity process and turn Apple into yet another committee-driven gadget maker.

Here’s my advice to Cook: pay attention to what had happened to Sony.

The big question remains unanswered: how will fans respond to this new, more normal Apple?

Thoughts?

  • Man c’mon, you can’t say he is changing Apple, cuz he is not the only one who is working :S

  • Don’t care. Keep giving us awesome stuff and an OS that is second to none and we will continue to pay a premium for a premium brand. Thats pretty much it. Apple is the Porsche of tech –

    • Falk M.

      This.

      I think that Apple has found a very very good CEO in Tim Cook.
      The only gripe I have with him is his presentation style, it’s ridiculously boring.
      But it’s hard to beat a bomb like Jobs.

      What I would like to see changed is that we get the major events live streamed again.
      It’s an orgasmic event to many diehard fans and the fact they release the video anyway isn’t helping in seeing how it’s ridiculous when every tech blog out there live-blogs it anyways.

      I dislike text/picture live blogs, takes away all the excitement for me.

      Oops, I got off topic, sorry 🙁

      Anyhow: Tim Cook = stellar CEO, very pleased with him thus far.

      • No Tim Cook is not good CEO.really not 0000000

      • Falk M.

        If you want to argue my points, maybe care to evaluate your stance?

        I think that after Steve Jobs every new CEO would have a tough time pleasing everyone.
        Steve wasn’t perfect, but boy, you can’t argue his genius and stellar performance in so many fields like marketing, rescuing a company, visioning the future and design, micromanagement, and more.

        Still, I think that Cook is a solid CEO, because he doesn’t try to “what would Steve do”, but still has learned from him and knows what he’s doing.
        He’s done many great things for Apple, I’m sure we don’t even know of all the good stuff.

        Was I disappointed in Cook’s performance in the beginning? Yes, hell yes.
        But was it mainly because being stuck in the Steve Jobs mode? Yes, hell yes.
        Do I think Steve Jobs resurrected would still make a good CEO? Yes again!

        You see, they have different appearance and style, but I honestly think they stick to the same core values that face us customers.
        I’m also pleased in the other executives Apple has, so the broad picture of Apple is roughly the same still, even though the backend works a little bit different now, but most of us won’t feel this really, as Apple’s focus on what they want to ship, how they ship it and what they envision stays the same.

        So please, I’m honestly interested in your points, what makes Cook a bad CEO?
        What speaks so much against him?

      • based on what information?

  • what happened to sony actually??

    • Read tech news!

      • I do, daily. What, more specifically, is this referring to? Sony gets a lot of press…

      • Falk M.

        They want to step it down a bit and pull out of some markets.

    • where apple is now, sony used to be in the 1980s-early 90s…

  • I hope Tim is good enought to lead Apple trought that war called “Apple vs Android”…

  • No he changing nothing . Just the Steve job is the best .tim is zero,,

  • You see iPhone 4s and ipad3 by Steve job .now see nothing new .he just copy iPad mini iPad it’s shit. Tim cook is zero zero

    • Falk M.

      Ah now I see what you’re on about…
      You’re trolling and don’t have a clue how much involved Steve was with the products that just shipped and even will ship in the next few years.

      That’s quite ridiculous.
      Please, inform yourself and get a clue.
      iPhone 4s wasn’t designed in a couple of weeks when Steve happened to stay at home due to cancer…
      Also, he even worked on projects the day before he died.

      Try to get a little more eloquent, too please.
      Your way of writing shows you don’t care about the details and just superficially blame blame blame – to put it in your way of writing.

      I know you don’t feed the trolls, but it’s so tempting with you.
      You’re exemplifying the usual “post Steve Apple will fail” troll.

      • You know your shit but don’t bother with this Thotsa guy, he’s clearly trolling -__-

  • I think he knows what he’s doing and Steve wouldn’t make the same mistake he did back in the day by putting someone in charge that doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing (I’m looking at you John Sculley). Tim will do just fine, I just think he needs to make the press conferences more exciting and make people actually want these products. That iPad 3 event was so boring that if I already had an iPad I probably wouldnt have wanted the new one, but since I didn’t I got one ;D

  • Anonymous

    i hope that Tim Cook would help in changing Apple’s stance towards jailbreaking.

    i carry and use a jailbroken iphone and ipad. i also carry and use an android phone (nexus now with an SIII on pre-order). because i love tech and appreciate the strengths of iOS and android, as well as understand the weaknesses of iOS and android.

    if Apple wins the cat and mouse game of jailbreaking i will drop iOS just like i have dropped Symbian/UIQ OS, and Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro in the past.

    imagine how much better a jailbroken iOS device would be if the jailbreakers were not forced to find new ways of jailbreaking after Apple burns old jailbreaks.