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Tim Cook Seeks to Be Apple's Augustus

Stocks in this article: AMZN AAPL GOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After a territory is conquered, it falls to the conqueror's successor to civilize it, to build institutions around it, to make the new into part of the common fabric.

The best known civilizer was Augustus Caesar, who took the name of the conqueror, Julius Caesar, and made that name a synonym for "emperor" or "king" in many languages, including the Russian "Czar" and the German "Kaiser."

Tim Cook is bidding to be Apple's Augustus Caesar.


When we talk about a "business moat," we're talking about a permanent advantage a business has, which acts the way a moat protected a medieval castle. Moats aren't usually built by conquerors, but by the managers and engineers who follow them into power.

The civilizer is not usually lauded, as the conqueror was, but his or her role is just as important. Tim Cook's role as Apple (AAPL) CEO is that of a civilizer, an organizer, a manager, someone transforming the market territory Steve Jobs conquered into permanent business advantage.

It's not exciting, it's not sexy, and it doesn't make headlines, but for investors it's just as essential.

Thus Tim Cook has worked to build infrastructure around the success Steve Jobs created and make Apple part of our common business fabric.

Part of that involves building a competitive cloud. Apple's content sales make its iCloud a popular consumer cloud destination, but Strategy Analytics now reports Apple had 27% of the "cloud media" market last fall, nearly twice the share of Amazon.Com (AMZN). Engadget revealed this in publishing a Strategy Analytics press release, describing a six-month old study that company is now sharing with the press via its email list.

To serve that traffic, Cook has Apple investing in renewable energy, an idea pioneered by Google (GOOG). Apple says its aims to make its North Carolina facility independent of the local electrical grid. The company is three-quarters of the way there, so more investment is coming.


And what's the biggest issue on the cloud? It's security. Apple's market share is giving it the same security vulnerabilities that plagued Microsoft (MSFT) for a decade, and Apple's response is being carefully measured by enterprise buyers.

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