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TheStreet Open House

Apple Should Still Fire Tim Cook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Generally speaking, we're a fickle people. Narrow your sample down to media that covers tech and finance and you have the ultimate illustration of wishy-washy. It's not so much about flip-flopping -- there's nothing wrong with changing or evolving opinions (see, for example, national gay marriage sentiment) -- but altering course even when the most recent information doesn't warrant a commensurate shift. That's the big problem.

And that's exactly what has taken place with Apple (AAPL - Get Report).

A few weeks ago, the "fire Tim Cook" bandwagon appeared to be gaining steam. Then Apple followed through on lame promises, spewing the most hollow of band-aid approaches -- an increased dividend and stock buyback. Shares popped on the rumors and maintained steam on the official announcement, adding roughly 16% since April 19. As far as most critics and cynics go, everything must have changed.

The "can Cook" talk mysteriously ceased. Yet nothing really changed at Apple. The story should have remained the same -- dividends and buybacks do nothing other than provide temporary relief for the stock price. They provide a lift and some sort of relatively shaky floor, but they do nothing -- at least nothing we should perceive as a tonic -- to alleviate the root issues at Apple. Matters dealing with long-term innovation -- the ability to do something other than improve (or so we hope) existing products and services -- under Tim Cook.


What happened to consistency of opinion during times of insignificant news flow? We have the dividend/buyback and loads more of the same -- unfounded rumors of what Apple might do next with what's already on the market and the hardware and software it has yet to unveil.

That's what saves Tim Cook from the type of heat the CEO of Apple, especially now, absolutely deserves? Slight alteration to what has been a comparatively frustrating time to follow Apple. A time littered with uncertainty that hasn't existed in years as Steve Jobs rolled out hit (iPod) after hit (iPhone) after hit (iPad).


We're not only an easily swayed society. We're a wholly uncritical one. We're tougher on sports teams than we are the unproven CEO of the greatest company in the world. He skates by on what will go down as an ultimately meaningless bounce outside of the profits it brought folks trading AAPL stock.

And, at the moment, there's no question, Apple is just fine. But resting on that is like handing the Rangers game seven of their NHL playoff series against the Capitals because they won game six.

Google (GOOG) is coming. Putting all of its platforms together to build an ecosystem that could one day crush Apple. And, sadly, you can't even count Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) out as Steve Ballmer implements the only strategy he can think of: Somebody else's!

Anyhow, shoot the messenger. I'm used to it. But take a look in the mirror. Tim Cook has done nothing at AAPL, qualitatively, to warrant this recent pop. Enjoy if you're nimble enough to trade it, but don't get fooled into thinking it magically changes anything.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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