"His role as Big Tech’s calm elder statesman has been put to the test over the past month."
From Patrick McGee's "Tim Cook charm resolves Twitter spat yet China crisis rumbles on" ($) posted Friday by the Financial Times:
Tim Cook was already battling one of the biggest disruptions to Apple’s crucial supply chain operations in China since the onset of the global pandemic when the tweet tirade began. In a flurry of more than a dozen tweets on Monday, Elon Musk launched a broadside against the world’s most valuable tech company, questioning the Apple chief’s commitment to free speech.
Musk, who bought Twitter for $44bn in October, rallied his 120mn followers to support a “revolution against online censorship in America”. Cook was able to placate the erratic billionaire within two days. Soon Musk was tweeting again, calling the whole thing a “misunderstanding” and thanking Cook for a personal tour of Apple’s headquarters, known as Apple Park.
A former Apple veteran of more than 10 years was not surprised by Cook’s diplomatic nous. “I’m sure Tim charmed him,” the person said. “He wanted to hear [Musk] out. And I’m sure Tim gave his perspective. That’s what Tim does: he rolls up his sleeves and fixes problems. He’s not into big public disputes, whether it’s a PR dispute or something more contentious. That’s not his MO. He’s not like Elon.”
Cook’s low-key, behind-the-scenes maneuvering since taking over from Steve Jobs in 2011 has been instrumental in solidifying Apple’s position as the world’s largest company. His role as Big Tech’s calm elder statesman has been put to the test over the past month amid huge disruption at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China.
My take: Musk left the spaceship with nothing to show but egg on his face.