We all knew that Tim Cook, the unfortunate dude who has to follow Steve Jobs’ legendary tenure as CEO of Apple, would not necessarily walk in his predecessor’s footsteps. One of the ways that Cook has distinguished himself is by being more affable and personable, and even sitting down for lunch with random employees in the Apple cafeteria. Fortune magazine’s Adam Lashinsky describes how Cook comes across so easy going and down to earth that Apple staff love his company (as opposed to feeling like they’ve just been thrown into an episode of Fear Factor). Contrast this to Jobs, who had a ritual of stopping employees in the hallway or the elevator and demanding they explain to him on the spot what they do here, knowing full well that a bungled answer could potentially cost them a job.
Cook differentiates himself from Jobs in more ways than just his lunch company; he’s also responsible for calling for independent audits of Apple’s overseas factory conditions and pushing Apple into a greener and more environmentally-conscious mode of thinking. Shareholders are particularly pleased with Cook allocating $45 billion over three years to stock dividends and share repurchasing.
Despite his untimely and tragic passing, the era of Steve Jobs is not quite over yet. While Cook has been at the wheel for the launch of the iPhone 4S and the iPad 3 (aka The New iPad), these products are still echoes of Jobs’ brilliant mind (the 4S was even released while he was still alive). Cook has certainly asserted himself as a CEO who can relate to people a little more easily and, at the same time, make some very positive quarterly financial reports. Time has yet to tell if, once the momentum of Jobs’ influence has faded, he can imagine the products that will keep Apple on top of the tech world.