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If Steve Jobs Were Alive, He Would Fire Tim Cook

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG NOK JCP

It all comes down to talking the talk and walking the walk. Cook simply does not have the ability to do the latter, therefore, if he does anything to remake Apple in his own image, he should throttle back on the former.

It's not just that he cannot walk the walk, he cannot clean up mistakes like Jobs could. Everybody makes mistakes. Jobs even made him. The recovery process is what matters. Cook butchered this one.

Just like he has no clue how to move forward with old guard media firms vis-a-vis Apple TV, Cook pokes in the dark on MappleGate. If Tim Cook was Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh would say he's in over his head in the Oval Office.

Together, Cook and Ron Johnson at JC Penney (JCP) prove that it's much easier to do great work when you're taking orders from and riding shotgun with Steve Jobs. Leave them to their own devices and you see what happens.

There's no sign of anything resembling a turnaround happening at JCP. And, while Apple continues to dominate, the not-so-slow erosion of its culture under Tim Cook rolls on.

As competent as they might be as executives, Johnson and Cook are both classic characters out of an MBA textbook. They have no business leading companies like Apple or orchestrating wholesale transformations that require otherworldly vision.

Ultimately, this is an incredibly sad story.

Most of all, Steve Jobs left his family and friends (and the rest of us) way too soon. Secondary to that, Apple's supreme reign will end prematurely. I'm not sure it's possible for it to have gone any other way, no matter who got the gig.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.
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