From me, November 2011, pre-blog, on an Apple forum.
I’m a bit surprised this is only recently becoming the prevailing viewpoint.
Apple would be a shadow of its present self without Tim Cook. He was integral in engineering Apple’s rise to power.
Tim may not be a “product guy”, but there’s plenty of that and vision to boot at Apple. The key is not to be the “sales guy”. Since Tim’s an operations guy, I think Apple’s avoided that particular trap.
I have to chuckle every time people ask about Apple’s “innovation potential” without Steve Jobs. Many of these same pundits wondered if Steve’s mercurial nature (oh, that was Steve 1.0? No matter, we’ll carry the meme to the present!) would destroy the company. And now that the steadiest of steady hands is at the helm, they wonder how Apple will go on without the mercurial, combustible, potentially-company-destroying genius of Steve.
Tim lives and breathes Apple. He will keep Apple streamlined and socially responsible and profitable and manage his team’s personalities and has an extremely high-level understanding of what makes Apple great, as well as effective. In a way, Tim is the best possible CEO to lead what I would call Apple 3.0 (hardly an original version number, I admit) – the king of technology that no one wants to crown, because except for iPod, it remains an “underdog” of market share in all of the categories in which it’s dominating profit share. Apple doesn’t need genius to secure its future. Just improving its Macs, iPhones and iPads with that same attention to detail, ease-of-use and consumer value will reap enormous rewards for years to come. No one knows it yet, but Apple’s empire is complete. What it needs more than anything is a good steward to ensure its sustainability and growth. As I’ve said, the actual designers, hardware specialists and software specialists are still there to drive Apple innovation. Steve obsessed over the products, but at the end of the day he didn’t make them.
I would add that you don’t work that closely with Steve Jobs for almost 15 years without picking up a few bits of knowledge from the man along the way. Tim’s nature is to be understated. He will surprise many with the full bandwidth of his abilities.