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Tim Cook Seeks to Be Apple's Augustus

Thus, Apple support is rolling out a two-step authentication process, in which a password gets a verification code sent to a separate preregistered device, and thieves can't get in simply by stealing the password.

The change had to be rolled out carefully, because the old system was already being exploited. To assure this would be seamless, Apple temporarily took its iForgot password system off line.

The security problem was a test, not only of Apple's own security but of its systems for reporting on problems, dealing with the media and keeping it all quiet. The fact that this story didn't go far beyond the trade press confirms Apple's success.

The most important thing Apple can do to make itself an institution is to crack the enterprise market. Consumers can change their preferences on a whim, but businesses have to plan for change, and the "bring your own device" concept, with employees now using their iPhones regularly for work, is a beachhead Apple must exploit to make its success permanent.


Apple has been quietly building its enterprise credibility with security, business apps, and an iOS developer program that Apple says is aimed directly at the enterprise. It doesn't get reported in the news, there aren't even press releases on it, but it's vital to Apple's future success that the enterprise beachhead be secured.

All of these quiet steps, launched across a broad front, don't make headlines the way having an entrepreneur standing in front of a room, holding a cool new device shown as "just one more thing," makes headlines.

They're not the kinds of moves a driven market conqueror like Steve Jobs would make. They're the moves a civilizer would make, someone who makes market gains permanent. There have been stories about this since 2011, soon after Cook took over, but they largely went unnoticed because they're just not exciting.

Not exciting to reporters, perhaps. Not exciting to consumers, certainly. But exciting to business, and exciting to investors? They should be.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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