New York (CNN Business) – When Tim Cook took over as CEO of AppleIt was a corporate transition like no other. He stepped out of the shadow of one of America’s best-known CEOs and took over the reins of one of the world’s largest tech companies, which was facing some uncertainty about how successful it might be.
After ten years of work, Cook now runs the most valuable company in the worldtechnological or not, and it remains among the most influential.
More than a billion people around the world they use their devices and tens of millions of developers have built businesses on their software platforms.
Cook took over from Steve Jobs as CEO on August 24, 2011, less than two months before the Apple founder passed away.
Since then, Apple’s market capitalization has grown by around 600% to nearly $ 2.5 trillion, and its annual revenue has more than doubled.
Yes Jobs was known For his ability to create innovative devices that redefined the consumer experience with technology, Cook may become known for expanding the Apple ecosystem, creating a suite of subscription services and other hardware products that complement the core iPhone business. that Jobs launched.
Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has grown from a premium device maker to a huge, multi-faceted company with businesses ranging from paid services to an Oscar-nominated film and television production studio. Oversaw the acquisition of more than 100 companies, including Beats for $ 3 billion in 2014 and the purchase of Intel’s smartphone modem business for $ 1 billion in 2019.
Inside Apple, Cook inherited a company culture known for being relentlessly demanding and is now leading at a time when tech workers are increasingly speaking out on social issues. (Cook himself, who in 2014 became one of the first CEO first level in making public that he is gay, he has participated in the defense of LGBTQ + rights).
Cook has also been at the forefront of big corporate mistakes like the “Batterygate” and the allegations of poor working conditions in the factories of its suppliers. A recent announcement about a new child protection initiative also became a unexpected public relations nightmare. And it has circumvented a number of external threats to Apple’s business over the years, including, recently, enmities with the Trump administration, the trade war between the United States and China and the pandemic of covid-19.
What Cook hasn’t done is launch another product as successful and disruptive as the iPhone, but he has found ways to keep Apple growing without it.
“It is possibly the most successful handover from force to force in corporate history,” said Mike Bailey, research director at FBB Capital Partners, of Jobs’ transition to Cook. “Apple, frankly, needed an entertainer and a politician, possibly more than a stressed-out founder and micromanager,” he added.
Bailey added, “He’s maintaining the empire, rather than building it.”
The growth of services
A month after taking over as CEO, Cook announced the launch of the iPhone 4S. Since then, Apple has released nearly two dozen more versions of the iPhone in a wider range of prices, along with new generations of the iPad, Mac, and MacBook. Cook has also overseen the introduction of new hardware products: the most successful, the Apple Watch in 2015 and the AirPods in 2016.
But even more important than the new devices that have seen the light under his leadership is the growth of Apple’s services business.
“From a hardware standpoint, I think you can argue that it has been more iterative than revolutionary, but I think that would minimize its contribution to the company,” said DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte, adding that Cook expanded the notion. of what is Apple. “He said … ‘What can Apple be? Apple can be a music subscription service, Apple can be a fitness subscription service, Apple can be much more than the App Store.'”
Even in the first five years of his tenure, Apple was drawing significant revenue from its Services division, which included products like iCloud, which launched in October 2011; Apple Podcasts, which launched in 2012; and Apple Music, which was released in 2015. In January 2016, Apple rrevealed for the first time that had generated US $ 20,000 million in sales of services in the previous year.
Since then, Apple has launched even more services, such as Apple Arcade, Apple TV + and Apple Fitness +, along with a subscription package, which have further boosted the business. In fiscal 2020, Apple generated about $ 53.8 billion in service revenue, which is about 20% of the company’s total sales. (Apple does not break down the sales of individual services.)
Apple’s focus on services has allowed it to be less reliant on iPhone sales, which can be volatile from quarter to quarter and have started to stagnate, even falling under Cook at times. One of Cook’s main goals has been to offset the slowdown in iPhone growth.
“It kept the iPhone party going, but it solved a boom-and-bust problem by blowing up its service business,” said FBB’s Bailey.
Apple keeps making lots of money each year from iPhone sales. But now it also has the more consistent and higher-margin benefits of subscription services to act as a buffer, as customers keep their devices for longer. The services also give consumers more reasons to choose Apple hardware over others, and help the company get more dollars from each person who buys one of its devices.
What is expected in the future?
Cook already said that he does not intend to continue at Apple in 10 years. But most of the company’s fans hope it will stick around for at least a few more years.
In that time, you will have many things on your plate that could shape the future of the company, including the long-rumored launch of a apple car and of a augmented reality vieweras well as its ongoing efforts to build its own chips for its devices.
But it will also face big challenges, such as Apple’s current antitrust fight with the app developers and the regulators. Forte also questioned whether Apple will be able to maintain its leadership position if the growth of Internet of Things devices makes consumers less dependent on smartphones. Apple has yet to gain the same traction on connected home devices as Amazon’s Alexa, and earlier this year discontinued your original HomePod in favor of the cheaper mini version.
“It can be argued that [todavía] they rely heavily on the iPhone, “said Forte.” I’m still trying to imagine what the future will be like and what happens when the smartphone is no longer the center of the universe, “he added.
Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has also been working to address its impact on the environment, including plans for achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. But given that the company relies on a complex global supply chain and non-renewable rare earth metals to build its products, Cook will likely have to further boost the company’s efforts in the coming years, as the climate change is a increasingly existential threat.
Then there is the question of who will take over at the helm of the world’s largest company when Cook leaves office. Jeff Williams, Apple’s current chief operating officer, dubbed Tim Cook’s Tim Cook in the tech press, would be an obvious choice if he took over now. But being only two years younger than Cook, that succession plan could be more questionable a few years from now, Bailey said.
“There doesn’t seem to be another internal person, number two, ready to come out, so I think that’s something that Apple is going to have to start addressing in the next two years,” he said.