Former Apple Engineer Claims Tim Cook Has Sucked Creative Dynamism Out Of The Company

Certainly it is not easy running Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world (it cracked the top 10 of the Fortune 500 list with a No. 9 ranking in 2016, and with a market capitalization of more than $629 billion, it is the most valuable firm on the planet), but easy or not, that is the job of Tim Cook. How he is doing is up for debate, and according to at least one former Apple employee, Cook has sucked the excitement out of Apple.

Bill Burrough, a former Apple engineer, described Apple to CNBC as being like the "wild west" in 2007. Burrough said that during his first two years of employment there, he worked on projects that had next to nothing to do with what his manager was responsible for.

"That's because the organization wasn't the priority, the projects were the priority. It was the exact opposite of 'not my job.' It was 'I'm here to solve whatever problems I can, irrespective of my role, my title, or to whom I report.' It was wild. Bit it was also very rewarding, because everything you did has maximal impact on the product."

Tim Cook

Burrough says the work culture is very different now, that the "dynamic has clearly and distinctly changed." He blames the change on Cook, who he believes is like former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was before he left the company. In a string of Twitter posts, Burrough laments that "executives aren't competing with each other anymore" because of Cook's loud and clear message of "Don't bring me conflict."
Is it a fair assessment? Under Cook, Apple's annual revenue has almost doubled, going from $108.2 billion in 2001 to $215.7 billion in 2016. There is something to be said for that, though at the same time, Apple has been criticized over the lack of innovation in its recent product releases, including the iPhone 7. There are many who feel that Apple is coasting on the past success of its smartphone, but without a next big thing, that will only take the company so far.

It should also be pointed out that Cook missed out on $1.5 million in performance bonuses in 2016. He still made out like a bandit with $8.7 million in earnings and $137 million in stock bonuses that were unlocked, but the $1.5 million left on the table for missing certain performance targets is indicative of a much bigger challenge Apple faces.

Criticisms aside, Cook is confident that Apple is on the right track and that while the "iPhone set the standard for mobile computing" during its first decade of existence, "the best is yet to come."