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Just how Close Is Apple's Tim Cook to Being Fired?

Tom Kaneshige | April 29, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook needs to show investors where the company's future growth is coming from. If he fails this fall, then he might be in big trouble, say industry analysts.

To Cook's credit, he's been able to get out of Steve Jobs' shadow. It was a difficult position to be in: Cook has faced a lot of pressure from shareholders, customers and the media simply by being the guy who has had to follow a legend.

"Cook has done a good job of being himself, not trying to be Steve Jobs," Schloetzer says. "He has been able to put his own branding, his own management style on Apple. Whether or not this management style is a good fit for Apple, I think we'll find out in the next 18 months."

Another bonus point for Cook was this week's Apple earnings report. Wall Street had been dreading the numbers, but they weren't all bad.

Sure, there was an 18 percent drop in quarterly net income, but Apple beat targets with $43.6 billion in revenue. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads; in the same quarter last year, Apple sold 11 million iPads. Cook also made a decision about what to do with Apple's enormous cash pile, with plans to dole out $100 billion to shareholders.

On the downside, Apple's guidance for next quarter didn't impress Wall Street.

Why the lowered guidance? Cook said new products wouldn't be coming until the fall. All of this puts a white-hot spotlight later this year on both Apple and Cook. New products will set the stage for Apple's future growth.

"Without being able to point to investors that this is where future growth is going to come from, then I think Mr. Cook will have difficulty retaining his position," Schloetzer says.


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