According to a new feature in Fortune magazine, Apple CEO Tim Cook has dramatically changed some things at Apple, making it more corporate than Steve Jobs might have liked.
In his tenure as CEO, Cook has taken a company built by Steve Jobs and transformed it into something a bit more corporate, according to the new report.
Although Cook himself wouldn't sit down with Fortune, the publication has published a feature citing several sources with knowledge on how the Apple chief executive has changed the company. Chief among those changes, Fortune says, is a switch from engineering-driven decision making to more conservatively considering production efficiency, and, thus, cost savings.
"I've been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global supply management," former Apple engineering vice president Max Paley told Fortune in an interview published today. "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."
Cook is by no means against making Apple a creative playground, according to Fortune, but he does feel as though the company should be run more as a major corporation. In fact, one source said that Apple has become "far more traditional", and has more structure in its corporate ladder than it did under Jobs.
Tim Cook officially took over as Apple CEO last August, after Jobs stepped down. Cook had served as Apple's chief operating officer, and was widely viewed as the main reason why the company's supply chain has worked so well over the years. That experience might also have contributed to Cook's desire to consider global supply management in his company's product decisions.
According to Fortune, Cook is also a somewhat friendly chief executive. Gone are the days when employees were scared to make a mistake for fear of reprisal at the hands of their chief executive. In fact, one source told Fortune that "people are breathing now" at the company. And, unlike Jobs, who would typically only eat lunch with his design guru Jonathan Ive, Cook has been known to have lunch with random employees in the company's cafeteria.
Such friendliness has helped make Cook extremely popular among his employees. In March, careers site Glassdoor revealed that Cook received a 97 per cent approval rating from employees over the previous 12-month period, making him the world's top-rated CEO. In the prior year, Jobs, who was nearly universally revered by his employees, earned a 95 per cent approval rating on Glassdoor. When he stepped down as CEO last year, Jobs left behind the same 97 per cent approval rating that Cook currently enjoys.
Investors might also be pleased with Cook's job. Over the last year alone, Apple shares have jumped 72 per cent, and, at times, have made the company the world's largest in terms of market capitalisation. Since late August, Apple's shares are up 52 per cent. Like his predecessor, Cook has been able to keep Apple's financials soaring — and beat Wall Street estimates, even when they seemed daunting.
Despite similar success, it's clear that Cook and Jobs would not have made the same decisions on all moves. For example, according to a Fortune source, some employees at Apple are "embarrassed" by the company's virtual personal assistant Siri. The application, which is in beta, has gone through its fair share of rough spots and has failed to deliver the right answers in many cases. It recently went as far as saying that the Nokia Lumia 900, not the iPhone, is the best smartphone ever.
Cook has stuck with Siri, and allowed the slings and arrows from critics to bounce off him. Fortune says a former insider, however, said that Jobs would have had a much different reaction.
"Steve would have lost his mind over Siri," the person said.
In other words, although Apple might look the same on the outside, on the inside, things appear to be changing.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the Fortune feature, but has yet to receive a response.