Apple's CEO Tim Cook is the target of a new "whisper campaign" that suggests the answer to the company's plummeting share price is to boot out the boss.
Douglas Kass - an investment manager who tweeted a false rumour that Apple was about to announce a split in February in order to boost the stock price and sell his shares at profit - has taken to Twitter once again this week, citing the same "Gnome" as he did previously in a new tweet that reads: "From my Gnome, high above the Alps – "Is Apple's Tim Cook… Cooked?"."
This new tweet comes as Cook prepares to report Apple's March quarter earnings today.
Kass is not the only one to suggest that Cook should be ousted from Apple. Forbes reports that Dell, Microsoft and HP consultant Rob Enderle wrote earlier this month: "Cook never had the skills needed to run Apple but that isn't the core of the problem because it was the Apple board that appointed Cook and keeps him on the job, as they haven't replaced or supplemented him with someone more qualified."
"Given JCPenny [sic] just ousted Apple alum Ron Johnson as CEO for losing a tiny fraction of what Cook has lost, why is Cook still CEO?" Enderle asked.
The Street's Rocco Pendola also compared Tim Cook's "failure" to Johnson's, stating that Cook "absolutely must go."
On Monday, Forbes contributor Gene Marcial suggested that Apple is secretly looking for a CEO to replace Cook. "Unless Apple CEO Cook announces something really dramatic in new products or astronomical earnings on Tuesday, the stock will surely decline even more," he wrote, referring to Apple share price's recent drop to its lowest level since December 2011. "And so will Tim Cook's standing with shareholders and investors – and Wall Street. That may finally signal his exit."
This isn't the first time Forbes has suggested that firing Tim Cook is the answer to Apple's share price decline. In January, the publication said that Apple should replace Cook with Apple's design guru Jony Ive as CEO.
But, is Tim Cook really as bad as these articles have made out? We don't think so. After all, since he took over as CEO of Apple when the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned from the position in August 2011 ahead of his death in October that year, Cook has overseen the launch of the iPhone 5, the third- and fourth-generation iPad, the all-new iPad mini, new iMacs, the Retina MacBook Pro and more.
We're not alone in our opinion. Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes: "Make no mistake, the pope who want Tim Cook's head on a spike are not friends of Apple. As far as I know, he still has the deep respect of the analysts who know the company best and – most important – the confidence of the board of directors."
In 2008, when Apple's stock fell from almost $200 per share to $117, Steve Jobs even told CNBC's Jim Goldman: "I think we've done pretty well for our stockholders over the past decade, and I would just encourage them to trust us. Maybe we know what we're doing."
"You know, Wall Street: I've never been able to figure out Wall Street," Jobs continued. "But someone once told me manage the top line, which is, your strategy, your talented people and your execution, and the bottom line will take care of itself. And I've always found that to be the case. So we're turning in record quarter after record quarter, and Wall Street eventually comes out in the right place."
In January, Apple proved naysayers wrong by announcing its best ever financial results, and yet another record breaker, despite the fiscal first quarter of 2013 being one week less than the 14-week fiscal first quarter of 2012.
Senior portfolio manager at AlphaOne Capital Markets told CNBC: "He [Cook] took over as CEO when the stock was in the $300 range, the stock is still higher than when he took over. You have to put this in perspective, Apple didn't run the stock up to $700, stupid investors put the stock up at $700. You can't really blame the CEO for that, they are still making more money than they were."
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has said: "Apple doesn't usually focus on the stock, because they believe if they focus on building great products the stock will take care of itself."
During Apple's annual shareholder meeting in February, Cook admitted that he doesn't like Apple's falling share price, but revealed that Apple is working on new product categories.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is confident that the company will launch new products soon that will "surprise and shock us all," and will help boost the company's "disappointing" share price.