Lots of people really didn’t like Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote at the All Things D conference last week.
Fortune writer Adam Lashinksky wrote: “It was the second year in a row Cook opened the prestigious AllthingsD conference and the second year in a row he divulged precious little about what is going on at Apple.”
Former Apple product boss Jean-Louis Gassée, on the other hand, came away impressed with Cook’s “preternatural calm.”
Gassée said Cook is especially appealing in comparison to Google CEO Larry Page, “who constantly whines about ‘negativity‘ directed at Google, a conduct unbecoming the leader of a successful company that steamrolls everything in its path.”
Here’s everything Gassée had to say about Cook’s interview:
Last but not least, Tim Cook’s interview. The low point in the Apple CEO’s appearance came during the Q&A section at the end (it’s around the 1:10:35 mark if you want to fast forward). A fund manager (!!) plaintively begged Cook to make him dream, to tell him stories about the future, like Google does. “Otherwise, we’ll thinkMike Spindler and Gil Amelio…” (I’m paraphrasing a bit).
Cook refused to bite. As he’d done many times in the interview, he declined to make announcements, he only allowed TV and wearable devices were areas of “intense interest”. And, when asked if Apple worked on more “game changers” like the iPhone or the iPad, he had no choice but promise more breakthroughs. Nothing new here, this has been Apple’s practice for years.
Which raises a question: What was Apple’s CEO doing at D11 less than two weeks before the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference where, certainly, announcements will be made? What did the organisers and audience expect, that Tim Cook would lift his skirt prematurely?
Actually, there was a small morsel: Cook, discussing Apple TV, claimed 13 millioncurrent generation devices had been sold to date, half of them in the past year… but that’s food for another Monday Note.
Audience and media reactions to the lack of entertainment were mixed.
For my part, perhaps because of my own thin skin, I find Tim Cook’s preternatural calm admirable. Taunted with comparisons to Spindler and Amelio, dragged onto the Senate floor, being called a liar by a NYT columnist, constant questioned about his ability to lead Apple to new heights of innovation… nothing seems to faze him. More important, nothing extracts a word of complaint from him.
This is much unlike another CEO, Larry Page, who constantly whines about “negativity” directed at Google, a conduct unbecoming the leader of a successful company that steamrolls everything in its path.
I have my own ideas about Cook’s well-controlled behaviour, they have to do with growing up different in Mobile, Alabama. But since he’s obviously not keen to discuss his personal life, I’ll leave it at that and envy his composure.
New Apple products are supposed to come out later this year. You can already draft the two types of stories: If they’re strong, this will be Tim Cook’s Apple; if not, it’ll beWe Told You So.
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