CNBC: Tripp Mickle vs. Tim Cook (videos)

In case you missed them, two videos that aired Monday afternoon.

Mickle, whose story in Monday's Wall Street Journal has silicon tongues wagging, says Apple is doubling down on the operations focus. Whatever that means.

Chief design officer Jony Ive's departure signals shift in Apple, says WSJ's Tripp Mickle from CNBC.

Tim Cook calls Mickle's story "absurd" and the talking heads knock that around a bit. One of them says some really dumb stuff.

Tim Cook responds to 'absurd' WSJ story on Jony Ive's departure from Apple from CNBC.

See also: How Apple lost Jony Ive


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Tripp has nothing to say, other than the old iPhone / SmartPhone market maturation.

    Apple Watch is a big hit and so is the AirPod. Both wearables crush the competition in what are new beach front properties. Android is in the ‘other’ category in Watches. While Apple’s design for both Watch and AirPod are stunning, the chipsets for both are at least a generation of the competition. Perhaps Android in wearables, will end up like Microsoft in SmartPhones. As far as the Watch “App flap”, who cares. One App, Apple Pay is enough. You can leave home with just your Watch, no wallet or smartphone, buy gas with the Watch, get cash from an ATM, go wind surfing, call your family, and then buy barbecue for the a party that night.

    The Mac Pro earned rave reviews. Some complained about the price of the stand. But people howled when Apple removed the audio jack. I’ll bet that the Mac Pro, despite its price, will do very well in the market place. It may find new markets like life science research.

    Apple Park, a monument for both Steve and Jony, has no peer.

    Jony’s esthetic shines brightly. Surely that means others have learned from the master.

    Make no mistake, in Apple’s toughest times, long ago, deep in the engine room, Tim Cook kept Apple alive. Cost and product quality matter, especially manufacturing quality, when it comes to customer loyalty and brand.

    Superficial thinkers like Tripp, see the gorgeous designs and think that’s Apple. It is one, of many essential elements.

    July 1, 2019
  2. Aaron Belich said:
    Funny, I was always under the impression that Apple Watch was an idea since the days of iPod Shuffle and Steve Jobs was hopeful of using it as a medical device. Where the hell did I get that idea from!?

    July 1, 2019
  3. Jerry W Doyle said:
    Mark Gurman: Jony Ive had a saying that went something like this, according to a person close to the design team: “… There are two ways of leaving Apple — the good way is you disappear and don’t make press. The bad way is you make the press.”

    I wrote earlier that in contemporary times the official announcement hardly ever fulfills completely the truth. Somewhere buried in the midsts of all the discussions one find commonalities, woven like a thread through all the public comments. Follow that thread and you find the truth.

    Examine the new organizational chart. Where lies ID? To whom does ID report? ID is reduced organizationally in status. ID reports to Operations. The CEO is the former Operations genius having ID now reporting to the Chief Operations Officer.

    There always has been this battle in Apple between hardware and design. Jony won out because of Steve Jobs. Jony reported “only” to Steve Jobs. Steve denoted that outside of him, Jony Ive was the second most powerful and influential person in Apple. Cook retained that organizational solid line (or was it a dotted line) of reporting. But at what price? Did design at some point encroach on hardware performance? Many folk believe so.

    Sir Jonathan Ive, for whom we all respect and love, has gone on record stating that Steve had to fend off objections of manufacturing engineers supported (at that period by Rubinstein) who tended to raise practical cost considerations when faced with Ive’s aesthetic desires and various design whims.

    Steve Jobs is on record stating that when we took design ideas to them “… they would come up with thirty-eight reasons they couldn’t do it. And I said, ‘No, no, we’re doing this.’ And they said, ‘Well, why?’ And I said, ‘Because I’m the CEO, and I think it can be done.’ And so they kind of grudgingly did it.”

    Ken Segall often denotes that one of Apple’s secret sauces for success was Steve Jobs’ refusal to take “no” for an answer. When someone comes up with an idea in business, this is a word that often is heard, “No.” There always is a thousand reasons why something can’t be done, only a few of which can’t be circumvented with creative thinking. In Segall’s own words: “… Rarely would Steve tolerate a negative response when he wanted something done. Unless you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was an immovable object in the way, he expected you to do the job. If you couldn’t, he’d find someone who could, and that wouldn’t bode well for your future as part of (Steve’s) group. Ken Segall lauds how Steve Jobs mastered one principle of Simplicity by wanting what he wanted and wasn’t about to take no for an answer.

    Ron Johnson commented that during his job interview and during his period while working with Apple in developing a string of Apple retail stores, Steve often reiterated, “…If Apple is going to succeed, we’re going to win on innovation.”

    A friend and I were discussing the other evening Jony Ive’s leaving Apple. My friend made a poignant observation. He reminded me when Steve Jobs made it well-known to everyone inside AND outside Apple that “design” is KING in concept AND “operational” hierarchy.

    My friend went on to say that this scheme would out-better products. Ives proved to be THE one in Jobs’ absence who could adeptly lead design as previously.

    As Gruber cites, this simple “design above all else” principle now possibly stands threatened. Cook demoted the ID component of the organization through new management lines of reporting to Jeff Williams. Concomitantly, reporting to Jeff Williams seems to be a great answerable choice as Cook is not a “product guy,” but it’s the singular curation of creative design thought and intent that makes Apple, “Apple.”

    Steve Jobs is gone. Jony Ives now is gone. Who’s the chosen one now?

    As my friend stated, when you think about it, even though we know different, the products Apple releases COULD HAVE seemingly come from ONE mind’s curation.

    Cook knows his company and its players; the tough spots and the soft spots. Keeping the “singular design curation” boat on an even keel over rough seas for a long period of time might be Tim Cook’s most important challenge yet, … if that is his goal.

    July 1, 2019
  4. Ralph McDarmont said:
    Apple is in Sir Jony’s soul. The company will benefit from his talents for many years ahead as he transitions to a so-called subcontractor. Plus he trained and inspired a fantastic Apple design team. As for all the noise from so called analysts, it is merely click bait as AAPL earnings approach. Same sequence every quarter for many years. Pretend “analysts” beat the company to death with bs storylines, then clam up after earnings prove them wrong. Rinse and repeat. The internet sure has enabled a lot of idiots. AAPL investors know Apple is strong and profitable, today and tomorrow. Their brokerage statements prove it.

    July 1, 2019
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    I’ll say it again until I’m blue in the face. Mickle et al are skilled in writing man bites dog stories. He may have the facts correct, but his interpretation of what those facts mean is distorted by his desire to write a man bites dog story.

    Having design report to Williams isn’t about focusing on operations over design (whatever that means) it’s about putting the best PERSON in charge of design. Who championed the Apple Watch while I’ve was absent? It was Williams. Ive got the credit, Williams did the work.

    Who says a person that excelled in one aspect of business can’t excel in another?

    People complain about Apple’s product fails, but no one blames Ive or his absences. I personally think fails are inevitable. NOBODY creates a string of hits without the occasional fail.

    TC was/is an operations guy, and was handpicked by Jobs to succeed him. The result of that decision is an Apple 3X bigger and 3X more profitable than under Jobs leadership. The main difference between the two is that there aren’t any more major sectors (on the scale of a smartphone) to disrupt.

    That said Apple disrupted the tablet sector, the smart watch sector, the wireless ear bud sector, the mobile pay sector, the wearable medical device sector and is on the verge of disrupting the credit card sector. The iPhone was not an immediate success. In the absence of a super major sector to disrupt Apple created six products that that have, are or will disrupt six different sectors. Throw in Services and Apple has diversified its dependence on a single product that over the next 5 years will account for more than 50% of gross revenue.


    Faulting Cook or Williams for not creating another disruptor on the scale of the iPhone is laughably ludricrus (sic).

    It’s time to recognize the Mickles for what they are: good at what they do (write man bites dog stories and lousy at other things they do (knowledgeably interpret events), and give credit to those in the trenches DOING vs those that haven’t.

    July 2, 2019
    • Fred Stein said:
      I like everything you wrote. 2 nuances….

      Tripp tossed up rumors (in addition to distorting facts). Rumors aren’t facts.

      Apple will disrupt on the scale of iPhone, in Health Care. TC said so. Health is $10T plus globally. As for what, when, how, etc., sit back and enjoy the show.

      Heck yes, credit card. Can’t wait till the bobble heads educate us about this in a year or so. haha.

      July 2, 2019
  6. Gregg Thurman said:
    Adding to the above.

    Where are the industry leaders of the 80’s, ‘90’s and 00’s? You know who I’m referring to: Real Networks, Motorola, RIM (BlackBerry), Sony, Nokia, Microsoft, LG, Acer, Dell, Compaq, Digital Equipment, IBM, et al?

    There are your failures to innovate. None of those gave us the tear drop iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the AirPods, the Apple Watch or iOS. Yet nobody is faulting their leadership or “lack of innovation”..

    Mickle and friends are hacks in search of a headline. They have long since stopped reporting the news and have become the news. THAT is not journalism.

    July 2, 2019
  7. Dan Scropos said:
    Why does Ive’s distance from Apple have to be viewed as a negative? I don’t doubt there were internal struggles between Design and Operations, but those aren’t necessarily bad. Conflict generally creates the best idea(s).

    Perhaps this is Cook’s finest hour. Alleviating internal pressure and some possible burnout by removing Jony from the frontlines and giving him some breathing room, while also freeing up some other creative genius entities that certainly lie within Apple’s team. The analysts view this as a zero sum game, just like they always do. But there can be 2 winners, and I believe there are.

    July 2, 2019

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