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TheStreet Open House

Fire Tim Cook: Too Little, Too Late, Too Stupid

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The most popular words uttered last week in the financial media:

The honeymoon for Tim Cook is over.

Even one of my favorite Apple (AAPL) contributors for TheStreet, Jason Schwarz, ended his list of all the things Apple (apparently) does wrong with that proclamation.

So, in the media at least, the guy's job is on the line.

In late 2012 and early 2013 when I was calling for Tim Cook's head, I told you the media would pull its pitchforks from its pants sooner or later. That the things I was being ridiculed for saying would suddenly become not only commonplace, but socially and journalistically acceptable.

So here we are with the media in full reactive, regurgitation mode.

But I'm no longer on the Fire Tim Cook bandwagon. I hopped off many months ago. What we're seeing now is reactionary and misguided. It illustrates the folly of a financial media that doesn't know its rear end from a hole in the ground. It beats the hell out of Tim Cook when it's safe to do so, rather than staking unpopular ground at a time when the notion of ousting Steve Jobs's replacement might have actually made sense.

Here's the deal in easy-to-understand bullet points (the financial media requires these for comprehension purposes):

  • Apple never should have hired Tim Cook in the first place. While not quite as brash or delusional as Ron Johnson, Cook suffers from some form of Ron Johnson syndrome, in that it's easy to look good riding shotgun with Steve Jobs. It's a different ballgame when you roll into the nightclub without Jobs at your side.
  • But that wasn't possible because Apple's Board went all-in -- too far, too fast. Crazy amounts of stock. Votes of confidence. And maybe that's because I'm wrong and Cook actually was the right guy for the gig. I don't know. It probably depends on how you look at these things.
  • I look at it this way ... Cook wasn't the guy, but he grew into being the guy. Apple's bigger than Cook (or any one man, except maybe Jobs), therefore it overcame/can continue to overcome his shortcomings (relative to Jobs and similar leaders). Cook weathered the storm of the first year in the impossible job of replacing Steve Jobs as Apple CEO. Behind the scenes he undoubtedly set up corporate structures that would help him -- and Apple -- succeed.

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