Apple Inc. ’s visionary and iconic co-founder Steve Jobs passed the chair to his successor Tim Cook some five years ago. Cook took the of CEO just six weeks before Jobs passed away. This week, when one of the most essential succession plans in the history of corporate sector will hit a milestone, a big question is facing the Cupertino-based giant – “are the best days of the tech giant behind it?”
iPhone – to be thanked and blamed
Even now, the largest firm in the world by market value is Apple Inc. . It is still one of the most influential companies worldwide. Last year, Apple’s $53bn in net income was more than the combined earnings of tech rivals Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon, notes a report from the WSJ. Recently, the smartphone giant sold its billionth iPhone.
The iPhone – first launched by Jobs – is even bigger in dollar terms today. The iPhone contributes around two-thirds of the overall revenue for the firm. The tally of sales of iPhones alone – almost $141bn over the past four quarters – is more than the combined annual sales figures of Nike, Cisco and Disney.
However, the iPhone has not been doing as well recently. It’s amazing and jaw-dropping success is also adding to the concerns of the tech giant. Its sales dropped 23%, compared to the previous year, in its most recent quarter. In overall revenue, the iPhone sales contributed to a 14.6% drop, resulting in a second consecutive quarterly fall in sales after 13 years of growth.
Also, Apple’s growth is slowing at the same time. Its stock is declining, and it has been facing more concerns from investors about its future. Though Apple’s product lineup has increased under Cook, each category is facing some or the other problem. Apple’s supposedly next big product – the Apple Watch – has not turned into a blockbuster product, and the iPad has also slumped.
Next five years crucial for Apple
Thanks to the billions of dollars in share buybacks and dividends that the tech giant shared with the shareholders under Cook, the iPhone maker has made the incredible transition from a growth stock to a value stock on the Wall Street. Over the past five years, Apple’s stock has more than doubled, and superseded the S&P 500, but it is still behind the tech giant Nasdaq Composite.
In August 2011, in his first email to the employees as CEO, Cook said he wants them to be confident that the firm is not going to change. “But change is inevitable, even if Apple Inc. ’s shareholders are slow to accept it,” notes the WSJ.
Gene Munster – an analyst at Piper Jaffray – says the legacy and wisdom of Cook is going to be determined by what happens in the next five years.