IT Management Slideshow: Will New Apple CEO Tim Cook Please CIOs?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 09-01-2011

Will New Apple CEO Tim Cook Please CIOs?

Cook Learned From JobsIf Tim Cook could be summed up in a single phrase, it might be "Steve Jobs' student." Cook called Jobs a "mentor" in a recent email to employees. Considering that Jobs was hardly the most enterprise-friendly CEO, that doesn't bode well for IT.

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Status QuoAlthough Tim Cook didn't come out and say that he won't play nice with CIOs, his email to employees indicated that he plans on maintaining the status quo at Apple. Cook ostensibly believes that the company's direction under Jobs was a good thing, and he doesn't want to change that.

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Jobs Remains ChairmanIn this capacity, Jobs can exercise a ton of influence over his CEO (and all the other executives at the company). Jobs might not be CEO anymore, but he's still very much a part of the decision-making process.

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Look At Cook's HistoryCook was instrumental in Apple's development of consumer products. In fact, he once headed Apple's Macintosh division -- the part of the company that might be considered the least enterprise-friendly.

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Consider the ShareholdersThe firm needs to constantly reassure investors that it knows what it's doing and can continue to provide them with value. Over the years, Apple has achieved this with consumer-focused products. Given the pressure on Cook to keep profits up, why would he change a thing?

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Changes Don't Come OvernightIn the next several years, Apple might just become the top enterprise computing provider, in spite of itself. If this happens, it's unlikely to be driven by a real enterprise-focused strategy, but rather a continuation of Apple's current approach, by which it enters the enterprise by sheer force of user demand.

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The Steve Jobs Roadmap?Jobs likely had a years-long product roadmap in place for Apple. And given his history, that product roadmap isn't likely to accommodate the needs of enterprise IT or CIOs.

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Apple's History Will be Cook's GuideApple has staked its strategy on the belief that the consumer market is central to its success, and all of its product designs and branding revolve around that. Like most CEOs, Cook will likely let history be his guide when he starts making decisions. The enterprise will be left out in the cold.

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What the Corporate World NeedsCIOs are looking for the practical, reliable, scalable solutions that Apple simply won't give them. Apple has a knack for frequent, news-making product updates. At this point, it appears CIOs and Apple very different ideas about what the enterprise needs.

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Cook's Supporting CastApple's other top executives, including Jonathan Ive and Ron Johnson, have spent years refining consumer products under the leadership of Jobs, and with great success. Why would they stop now?

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