A Forbes report is suggesting that Apple should fire CEO Tim Cook and replace him with senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive.
Reporter Peter Cohan seems to be suggesting that Apple's profits are falling and the best solution is to replace a man with a background in finance with a designer.
We think Jonathan Ive is a great asset to Apple, but the idea that he could do a better job running the company is surely a bit like saying Steve Wozinak should have run Apple.
Cohan writes that Apple is "poised to report its first profit drop in a long time." His evidence is a Bloomberg report that suggests Apple is about to report a 2% fall in net income for its first quarter (a mere $12.8 billion compared to the same quarter last year which saw $13.06 billion). Cohan notes that every year since 2003 Apple has increased its net income by 10%. (Read our round up of Analyst Expectations for Apple's 1st quarter results).
It should be noted that even if Apple announces that it made less profit than it did in the same quarter last year, this was a 13-week quarter, not the usual 14-week quarter.
Cohan also notes that Bloomberg predicts that Apple will report an 18% sales increase to $54.8 billion. That's "the slowest growth rate since 2009," apparently.
Cohan goes on to examine various issues Apple's facing right now. These include the opportunity in China and the need for a low-cost iPhone to address that market; the legal battle with Samsung "a formidable competitor – offering 80 different smart phone models"; the likelihood that to grow its profit line "an ongoing profit squeeze is inevitable."
According to Cohan the best way to address this profit squeeze is to address it through innovation. "But this strategy of creating big new revenue streams only worked under Steve Jobs," states Cohan.
Cook is a supply chain expert and, notes the Forbes report, Cook has "largely done a decent job of managing Apple’s supply chain." Given the number of supply chain issues Apple has faced of late this could be an understatement.
The Mac Observer is less understated; they write: "Tim Cook is the supply chain master of the world."
Apple needs a new category-killer
The report criticizes Cook for not demonstrating that he can "create a big new revenue source". Instead Cook has overseen a "botched new product introduction" (Apple Maps) and then fired the "people who take the blame for embarrassing him".
What Apple needs to do, according to the Forbes report is "Invent a new category-killing product" and Cohan suggests "Jony Ive — Jobs’ product design partner," would be perfect for the job.
"It’s unclear whether Ive has the skills to manage Apple", Cohan notes, but he suggests that Apple's competitive advantage has always been design and that supply chain plays an "important, but secondary role".
"Now it’s time for Apple’s board to put the person with design skill in the CEO job," writes Cohan.
The fact that Ive has recently been promoted in Apple's management shake-up, suggests that Apple is well aware of his value, and that his promotion will enable him to have a greater impact at Apple. When his promotion was announced, some described the management shake up as issuing in a "true era of Tim Cook."
There is no need for Ive to get caught up in the day to day running of the company - how on earth would he have time to design the fantastic products he is known for if he was made CEO!
As the Apple press release announcing Ive's promotion read: “Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.”