Five ways Cook can keep Apple king

Tim Cook

ANALYSIS Taking over a company which is richer than the US Government must be a fairly daunting task.

It's one that Tim Cook is facing as of today. Now Steve Jobs has gone, Cook has some pretty big shoes/shiny white trainers to fill.

For those wondering whether Cook has the acumen to maintain Apple's place at the top of the consumer tech world, quite simply, he does.

Having been acting CEO during Jobs' previous time outs, Apple has continued to grow into even more of an indomitable behemoth. The company's recent results showed just how well the firm has done under the leadership of Cook. In what can only be described as a spectacular second quarter, Apple saw a 93 per cent rise in profits.

Steve Jobs has provided both strategic vision and personal leadership...Tim Cook will not step easily into either of these roles, as a safe pair of hands but hardly a visionary or a charismatic figure.

Even before those stellar results, Cook proved himself more than capable of leading the iPhone creator. The year he joined Apple, the company reported a $1 billion loss. By the following year, thanks to Cook's improvements to operational efficiencies amongst other factors, the company was in profit. He went on to become chief operating officer (COO) during the company's years of growth throughout the 2000s.

It would be unwise to suggest Jobs is completely out of the picture, even though he will step away from the limelight. His influence will no doubt be felt in the coming years until he completely resigns from his role as chairman.

Nevertheless, Cook will have to do a few things to ensure he isn't responsible for any mishaps. At Apple, being number one is the only option. Here's five ways Cook can help ensure it remains there...

1. Become the rockstar

PR is something Apple has become awfully adept at over the past decade. Steve Jobs was part of that PR beast, the figurehead and the rockstar who became synonymous with the company and what it stood for. Some believe Cook will find it hard to keep that part of Apple alive.

"Steve Jobs has provided both strategic vision and personal leadership at the top of the company, as arguably the most visible and well-known CEO of any technology company today," said Ovum chief analyst Jan Dawson.

"Tim Cook will not step easily into either of these roles, as a safe pair of hands but hardly a visionary or a charismatic figure."

Cook, who is known primarily as a supply chain master, would do well to become one of the rockstars of Silicon Valley. Although doing so in a non-cringing way will be harder to do than many would expect. Perhaps bringing in another one of Apple's star players, such as Jonathan Ives, to become the face of the company might be a better option.

2. Appear to be first to market

Despite what Apple may want you to believe, it hasn't always been the first to new markets. It didn't create the first smartphone, nor did it produce the first tablet.

What has done is create products that were of such high quality, and were advertised so well, that it seemed like Apple was first to market. Then the wannabes followed, as we now see with the abundance of iPhone and iPad look-alikes flooding the market. All that did was entrench Apple's position as leader.

Cook has to continue this form. With competitors starting to realise that following Apple rather than innovating isn't the best way to operate right now (look at Windows Phone 7 as an example of how to create a more unique mobile OS), Cook will want to ensure the iPad maker isn't left looking like a copycat itself.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.