An external force coming in and dictating the terms of engagement to Apple management -- that's what matters. If you don't consider this groundbreaking and monumental, particularly within the context of what Apple is going through, you're deluding yourself as a shareholder or not studying the situation close enough as an observer.
No doubt, I boil this down to the philosophical argument: Is there a meaningful connection between the seemingly unconnected (Einhorn pushing Cook around in a way he never would have and/or could have Jobs) and Apple's success?
I think there is and, while Jobs is the face of this unorthodox, sometimes antisocial and quintessential Apple attitude, it was -- or at least it should be -- bigger than him. Jobs created a complex culture comprised of many actors; it was never a one-man show. Evolution is necessary, welcome and expected; misunderstanding how this culture permeated and impacted Apple's entire being is not.
Maybe I am being melodramatic, but when Steve Jobs told Tim Cook,
Don't ask what I would do, just do what's right
, he didn't mean sell out the fiber of what made the company he built great.
Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.