3 Reasons Why Tim Cook Isn't Steve Jobs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tim Cook is set to speak Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, a rare public appearance for the Apple ( AAPL) CEO.

The conference is Cook's first time speaking as CEO of Apple at an investor event since the death of Steve Jobs and it will give shareholders a chance to learn a bit more about the company's strategic plans for this year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook

But despite Apple's success in 2012 -- the iPhone maker's share price is up nearly 25% since January, hitting new all-time highs above $500 this week -- Cook and Jobs couldn't be more different.

Here are three reasons why.

1. Personality

While Jobs was known for being a creative visionary and risk-taker, Cook is far more practical. He's an operational wizard who increased margins by closing Apple factories and helping to establish the company's third-party supply chain network around the globe.

Compared to Jobs -- considered a colorful and outspoken showman -- Cook is known to be more of a soft spoken team player.

Cook's iPhone 4S presentation in October was somewhat muted in comparison to Jobs' past product launches. Cook turned over much of the presentation to other Apple execs, while Jobs would often take the stage for alone for such events.

But, like Jobs, Cook has proven he's a tough boss.

Former employees recount e-mails sent by Cook at 4 a.m. and Sunday night conference calls.

2. Transparency vs. Secrecy

While Jobs was notorious for fostering Apple's culture of secrecy, Cook is moving towards making the company (slightly) more transparent.

For the first time ever, Apple published its once closely guarded list of third-party suppliers in January in response to criticism that it has ignored poor working conditions in its Chinese factories.

Cook's commitment to transparency at Apple also extends to charitable giving. While Apple under Jobs was often criticized for its lack of a corporate giving policy, Cook recently told employees that the company had donated $50 million to Stanford University hospitals and another $50 million to African aid foundation (Red).

3. Rewarding Shareholders

Despite Apple's $97 billion cash hoard, the company hasn't paid a dividend in years.

But while Jobs resisted rewarding shareholders with a dividend, it's speculated that Cook may soon consider one.

In his first comments as CEO during an October earnings call, Cook said that he wasn't "religious about holding or not holding cash."

More than 70% of respondents to a recent poll believe Apple should start paying out a dividend.

-- Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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