Despite today’s trend to vertical integration, Apple stands alone in its ability to integrate at the system level. The truth is silicon is the alchemy which causes consumers to marvel when they hold or touch an iPhone.
This fact is not lost on Tim Cook, who at the operations level understands silicon better than nearly any business leader.
Tim Cook has been taking a lot of heat in recent months both for Apple’s stock price (despite the fact that it ran up to all-time highs under him as well) and for Apple’s perceived inability to innovate (which is foolish given the time scale we’re talking about). Yet something that’s never talked about is Cook’s actual strengths. Before becoming CEO (and perhaps while serving as interim CEO), Cook was widely considered to be the best hardware operations guy in the business.
Apple’s current margins and efficiency are a direct result of Cook. And it certainly seems like the pieces put in place for Apple to control its silicon future are a result of Cook’s operations management as well. We’re now fully seeing the fruits of that labor.