With this week marking the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of Apple's (AAPL) first-ever iPhone, now seems like a good time to compare the tenures of Steve Jobs with his replacement as CEO over the last five-and-a-half years, Tim Cook.
When Jobs officially regained control in 1997 over the company he helped found, Apple shares sat near the equivalent of $0.79 apiece, accounting for two separate two-for-one stock splits during his tenure, and a later seven-for-one split. By the time he resigned as CEO in 2011, shares had skyrocketed more than 6,000% to the equivalent of about $54 per share. Over Jobs' tenure, therefore, the compound annualized rate of return was about 35%.
In Cook's time so far as CEO, the stock has more than doubled to around $119, for a compounded annualized rate of return of roughly 16%.
For his part, Cook has put a far greater focus on bringing money back to shareholders than Jobs did as Apple's explosive growth as a smaller company has slowed. Since July 2012, Apple has issued a regular quarterly dividend of as much as $3.29 per share, and the company has also repurchased more than $127 billion in shares under Cook. When Jobs was CEO, Apple only issued a dividend twice.
And to his credit, Cook has excelled in creating and growing Apple's services segment through the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. In early 2016, the services segment surpassed revenue for the Mac segment for the first time and became Apple's second-most profitable unit, behind the iPhone. In fiscal 2016 it earned the company about $24.3 billion, or roughly 11% of total revenues.
But despite his successes, Cook faces a challenging environment in the upcoming years as smartphone sales cool. For 2016, IDC recently predicted that worldwide mobile phone shipments will reach a total of 1.93 billion units, down 2.1% from the 1.98 billion units shipped in 2015. By 2020 total mobile phone shipments are expected to be essentially flat at 1.98 billion units worldwide.