Posts Tagged ‘Tim Cook’

2046528Apple’s iPhone managed to land in Hong Kong last year, but the drive across the Kowloon Toll Road to China is taking a bit longer. Antsy youngsters (media, investors and analysts) in the back seat want to know one thing… “Are we there yet Uncle Tim (Cook)?” …

Apple COO Tim Cook: “Um, not quite yet. The view is a bit hazy, but that sorta looks like Beijing. (Pointing East) See over there … It’s just over the horizon.”

Picture 2Okay, I took some poetic license. Tim Cook chooses his words carefully. During Apple’s (AAPL) recent Q3’09 earnings call, Broadpoint.Amtech analyst Brian Marshall asked: “Tim, any update on the iPhone in China?”

Cook’s response: “Nothing to add to date specifically, other than it continues to be a priority project and we hope to be there within a year.” (i.e. it could be tomorrow … or it could be 12 months from now)

Okay… Before a tantrum breaks out in the back-seat, let’s get back to the kids’ most urgent question… When?

Picture 1Just my super wild-ass guess, but I’m now looking for a deal announcement sometime in late Summer ’09 and an iPhone launch in the Fall of ‘09. What’s the basis for this SWAG?  Mostly a game of clue by the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (that would be Moi’ who previously predicted we’d be launched by now):

apple_unicomClue 1: Multiple different reports and sources lead me to believe that Apple’s negotiations with China Unicom were successfully concluded in late Spring 2009. You can chalk up the delay in a formal deal announcement to logistics (e.g. testing, licensing process, WCDMA network rollout and new model iPhone build) and perhaps some China telecom industry politics.

Clue 2: Press reports along with some documentary evidence, suggests that a new model iPhone was submitted to China’s authorities for mandatory “testing” sometime in late Spring. The MIIT’s testing process can take several months to complete. Foot-dragging by the MIIT might help China’s carriers to deploy their own Android-based phones + new WVAS + new mobile operating systems before iPhone is launched.


crystal-liu-pic-0014Clue 3: Multiple reports that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) will soon begin full production of a custom iPhone for China. This model will not have WiFi (due to WAPI/WiFi issues) but will likely come preloaded with several “for China” apps. Foxconn has given this iPhone a code name – “Model 90.” There is a very high probability that Model 90 is the same “yet to be unveiled” iPhone model (A1324) that China granted (in early June) a Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC). This new iPhone is still pending the mission-critical Network Access License (NAL).

Clue 4: Initial production of Model 90 was confirmed in a tragic and highly unusual fashion – the July 16 suicide of a Foxconn worker charged with the responsibility of shipping 16 “Model 90” prototypes to Apple. One of the “Model 90” prototypes went missing (circa July 10) and this led to a very unfortunate chain of events that ended quite tragically. Many other bloggers and journalists have weighed in on this story, so I won’t delve into it any further here.

3609103536_3e314978d8Clue 5: Another reason why an iPhone launch might need to be pushed to Fall of ’09 is “manufacturing constraints.” That’s analyst speak for they can’t build ‘em fast enough to meet robust demand. Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) is now committing substantial resources to build iPhone 3GS, and this may take priority over production lines for the new model for China.

Clue 6: While China Unicom’s WCDMA 3G network was successfully launched on May 17, it will take several months before service is fully deployed. China Unicom rolled out the first 55 cities on May 17. On June 30, China Unicom announced the rollout to an additional 44 cities. All major cities should be lit-up by September/October with blanket WCDMA 3G coverage by year-end (284 cities).

Clue 7: China Mobile and China Unicom will launch their first proprietary Android-based phones (OPhones/UPhones respectively) + their new mobile OS and enhanced wireless value-added services (WVAS) circa August/September ‘09. China’s carriers may want to have their own “answer to iPhone” ready by the time the MIIT grants iPhone its NAL. In case you’re wondering … yes, China Unicom will be in “coop-it-ition” (cooperation + competition) with Apple. They want iPhone to “go huge” to bring in new subscribers, but they also desire new product/service offerings of their own.

To sum up… logistics and politics may push the iPhone deal announcement out to late Summer with a launch in China coming sometime in the Fall. But it will happen this year! So says Inspector Clouseau.

jingjing10“Are we there yet?” …

“Almost … watch another Olympics video on your iPhone and before you know it we’ll be there.”


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picture-114Update – April 27, 2009: Rumor – Verizon in talks to get iTablet device? Read report and watch video > HERE

Note: This report and video is interesting, but treat with skepticism. Apple is highly unlikely to develop a CDMA (EVDO) iPhone, and they’ve said as much. Apple may however be chatting with Verizon about an iPhone in 2011 on the new (on the drawing board) 4G LTE network. It’s also possible that Apple would talk with Verizon about new Macs and/or a new iTablet with WWLAN support for mobile networks. Verizon might well subsidize any Apple device that requires an on contract subscription.

Sascha Sagen has some interesting thoughts on a possibly orchestrated Verizon whispering campaign designed to draw attention away from the Apple iPhone and the Palm Pre. Read > HERE  

Cook and Jobs

Cook and Jobs

About that Apple netbook … Think tablet

April 22, 2009 – During today’s Apple (AAPL) Q2 earnings conference call, an analysts asked if Apple was considering entering the netbook space. Apple COO (and acting CEO) Tim Cook, all but dismissed that idea, suggesting that most netbook offerings today do not deliver a very good consumer experience. Then Tim Cook said something more interesting …

“…we do look at the space and are interested to see how customers respond to it. People who want a small computer, so to speak, that does browsing and email might want to buy an iPod touch or they might want to buy an iPhone. And so we have other products to accomplish what people are buying a netbook for. So in that particular way we “play” on an indirect basis. And then of course if we find a way where we can deliver an innovative product that really makes a contribution, then we’ll do that. We have some interesting ideas in this space. The product pipeline is fantastic for the Mac.”

Dan Frommer and Henry Blodget talk about an Apple iTablet device. Watch video > HERE

More video on the rumored Apple iTablet (iPod Touch HD) > HERE

tablet concept - courtesy desinformado

tablet concept - courtesy desinformado


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china-iphone-300x2082During today’s Apple (AAPL) Q2 ’09 earnings conference call, Piper Jaffray Analyst Gene Munster asked Tim Cook about the timing for iPhone officially entering China. Tim Cook’s answer:

Cook and Jobs

Cook and Jobs

“We now have have the four “BIRC” countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China (Hong Kong), we have three of those up (not yet PRC) and we have 8,000 storefronts in those three selling the iPhone, so we feel very good about that and we’re putting a lot of energy in growing those. China we are not in yet. We would like to be in China within the next year (i.e. anytime within the next 12 months) and we’re clearly working on that. But I’ve got nothing specific to announce today on it (iPhone deals in China).”

iPhonAsia Comment: iPhonAsia believes that Apple executive management very recently traveled to Beijing to meet with China Unicom executives and officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). We believe that Apple and China Unicom have now concluded a formal agreement. But a deal is not done until China’s MIIT formally approves iPhone. iPhonAsia is optimistic that MIIT’s authorization will be forthcoming.

May 17 is a possible date for announcements, but we would not be surprised if things are kept under wraps until June 9 (WWDC 2009 Keynote) a good day and forum to unveil new iPhone hardware and China deals. iPhonAsia does not believe we will have any iPhone launch in China until mid to late summer (no sooner than mid July). 


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Update – January 22, 2009: Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster now believes a new iPhone model may be coming in June. More > HERE

Via Jim Goldman’s TechCheck blog: “We (Piper Jaffray) cut our estimates on iPhone, but it’s more of a shift. The expectations of having a March launch of a new form factor looks less likely.” He spoke to a manufacturing source in Asia which says new components will be delivered to Apple in late March or early April which means a new phone might not come until June. Gene was expecting that new phone in March. So, “We pulled the plug on our 45 million unit sales estimate for (calendar) 2009. There’s just no way without that March release.” His new calendar 2009 estimate is 28 million iPhone units. In 2010, he ups the figure by around 15 percent to 32 million.

Apple (AAPL) Q1 2009 Earnings Call – Discussion re Prepaid Markets

iPhonAsia comment:  During today’s (January 21, 2009) Apple (AAPL) Q1 2009 earnings conference call, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster asked Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook about Apple’s strategy for entering “non-subsidized” markets. Q1 2009  earnings call transcript > HERE

To provide a bit of background and context … “non-subsidized” or “prepaid” markets are those where the majority of cell phone users are not on any fee-for-service contract with their wireless service provider.  Prepaid customers typically purchase cell phones at full retail price without any type of carrier subsidy. The carrier has no motivation to subsidize (sell mobile phones below market price to the customer) handsets since the customer can simply walk away from the “prepaid” service relationship at any time.

Prepaid users are often on a tight budget and buy their “air-time” as they need it. In most markets, prepaid customers do not have to pay a deposit for cellular service. Topping up prepaid accounts is often done by going online, by phone, bank-machine or through the purchase of a pre-paid SIM card. 

The largest “prepaid” cellular markets in the world are India, China, Indonesia, and greater Asia. Between China and India there are estimated to be more than 600 million prepaid customers. China Mobile alone has more than 290 million prepaid customers.

Here is the “Q&A” exchange (a close paraphrase) between Gene Munster and Tim Cook:

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster


Gene Munster: “Hey good afternoon and congratulations (Apple had outstanding earnings). If you talk about the pricing environment to the pricing umbrella on the iPhone … if you look at your addressable market of almost 1,000,000,000 subscribers that you currently address, about 60% of them are in “un-subsidized” or “non-contractual” (a.k.a. “prepaid”) markets. Are those markets that you are potentially interested in? How should we think about an addressable market if they (prepaid markets) are a market that you are basically priced too high for?”

Apple COO Tim Cook

Apple COO Tim Cook


Tim Cook:  “Gene, it’s Tim.  We are now in over 70 countries with the iPhone and you are correct, some of those countries are non-subsidized markets.  The largest example of that would be India in terms of the size of the non-subsidized market. And our sales are clearly materially less in those markets (e.g. in India) than in the subsidized markets that have post-pay contracts. And so we are constantly evaluating the best way to play in these markets. We know that there is a huge market opportunity there. And we’ll make adjustments in the future accordingly to play in a stronger way.”

Gene Munster: “Okay, so when you talk about no pricing umbrella, you are referring more towards the subsidized markets verses the non-subsidized markets?”

Tim Cook: “Yes, and clearly you know we are not going to play in the low-end voice phone (dumb phone) business. You know that is not who we are, and not why we are here. We will let somebody else do that. Our objective is not to be the unit share leader in the cell phone industry. It is to build the world’s best phone!”

See also

Unsurprisingly, Apple not interested in low-end voice phone market

Posted January 21, 2009 6:51 PM by Chris Howard

picture-113During the latest quarterly conference call, and in an answer to a question about a cheaper iPhone, Tim Cook said “We’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here. Goal is not to lead unit sales, but to build the world’s best phone.”

This shouldn’t surprise at all. All this says is Apple’s not competing in the dime-a-dozen phones. It is no way a comment about an iPhone nano.

The rumored and desired iPhone nano is still a smartphone. It would just lack a few features for those who dont’ need an iPhone with the lot. For example, it might have no GPS or WiFi. It also might be slightly smaller.

But it should definitely still be a smartphone.

So, we can still live in hope that the iPhone nano is planned.


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picture-28TIM COOK: Though the Cupertino juggernaut often is identified with Steve Jobs, his temporary replacement is a force behind the company shine of recent years


Published: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 4:20 a.m.

Apple’s Backup Power

picture-35Steve Jobs’ leadership of Apple Inc. has been the stuff of American business lore. Less heralded is the role that Tim Cook played in rescuing the company from near irrelevance.

Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, will take over CEO Steve Jobs’ responsibilities while he is on leave, though Jobs plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions.

Through a series of roles, most recently chief operating officer, Cook fixed what ailed Apple in the mid-1990s: poor product quality, spotty availability and absurdly high prices. His reward: For the second time in five years, Jobs this week tapped Cook to run the company while the chief executive takes a medical leave.

Cook, 48, is a workaholic and fitness nut who is known for being as obsessive and demanding as Jobs himself. The Alabama native and Auburn University engineering graduate has quietly made his mark running the operations of Apple for many years.

And he is the person the Cupertino company’s board entrusted to lead during Jobs’ absence.

Jobs, who recently said he had lost weight due to a hormone imbalance, said Wednesday that he was taking his leave through June because his health issue was more complex than previously believed and because curiosity about the matter continues to be a distraction.

Investors, who are accustomed to Cook’s Southern drawl on quarterly earnings calls, reacted calmly to the transition of power, sending the stock down just 2 percent to $83.38 on Thursday.

“Supply chain management, which seems so incredibly unsexy, is very sexy when you look at your bank account and you have managed the product transitions perfectly,” said Mike Janes, who worked with Cook as general manager of Apple’s online store for five years, starting in 1998. “That’s the thing that Tim is absolutely a master at.”

He has brought efficiency and discipline to the duller aspects of one of the world’s most famous consumer brands. He also keeps a lid on costs so Apple can spend a fortune marketing and designing products such as the Mac computer line, the iPod and the iPhone.

He was recruited from Compaq Computer in 1998 to clean up Apple’s manufacturing, distribution and supply apparatus.

Cook took a radical step. He pulled Apple out of the manufacturing business, closing factories and warehouses. The amount of time inventory sat on Apple’s balance sheet shrank from months to days. He was also instrumental in helping transition Apple’s computer line to processors made by Intel Corp.

Those kinds of behind-the-scenes moves are as vital to Apple’s success as the splashiest product launch and have helped generate billions of dollars in cash on hand and no debt. Such a healthy balance sheet has been enormously useful for Apple as it locks in suppliers and corners markets.

“Tim happens to be one of the most respected names in supply chain management, anywhere in the world,” said Kevin O’Marah, chief strategist at AMR Research, a Boston consulting firm that ranks how companies source, make and deliver products. “Apple is No. 1, and that is so much not the way it would have been in the days before Tim Cook. It’s like the world flipping upside-down. He’s been completely transformational to the company.”

Even as Jobs has kept a tight rein, Cook’s responsibilities have increased dramatically. In 2000, Cook took over the sales force and customer support. In 2004, he filled in while Jobs was recuperating from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas and took over the Macintosh division. Today he also oversees iPhone sales and operations and negotiates with wireless carriers who sell the popular device.

“Tim is an amazing, brilliant mind when it comes to operational excellence and is really a master of execution,” said Janes, now chief executive of FanSnap, an online ticket search engine. “I worked at Federal Express for 14 years. I know what world-class operators look like, and Tim Cook is right at the top of the list.”

Around Apple, Cook is known for his calm temperament and his work ethic: The son of a shipyard worker and a homemaker, he is often the first in and last out of the office. He begins e-mailing executives at 4:30 a.m. and, for years, held a regular Sunday night staff meeting by telephone to prepare for Monday meetings.

Steve Doil, who worked with Cook at Compaq and Apple, said Cook brings a quiet intensity to the job that stands in contrast to the table-pounding, in-your-face style of Jobs. “I’ve never heard Tim raise his voice,” Doil said.

Although analysts uniformly give Cook high marks on execution, Apple hasn’t said whether Cook will be the next CEO.

“Often, outsiders are brought in when a company needs to be shaken up and changed,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi Jr. “Most investors would say that’s not the case at Apple. The goal is to try to continue the magic.”


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iPhonAsia comment: iPhonAsia does not make investment recommendations, but we do agree with many of the points John Paczkowski makes in his post today (excerpt below).  First and foremost, we wish Steve Jobs a quick recovery and look forward to his return. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve and his family.

Apple COO Tim Cook will fulfill Apple’s CEO role while Steve Jobs takes a temporary medical leave of absence. See Steve Jobs’ letter > HERE. For more background on Tim Cook read iPhonAsia posts > HERE and HERE

Apple COO - Tim Cook

Apple COO - Tim Cook

For readers who don’t follow Apple, Inc. (AAPL) closely, Apple has a superb bench to support Steve Jobs. And Apple Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Cook is an extremely capable executive who could take the helm at Apple and not miss a beat. As an Apple shareholder, I’ve had the pleasure and responsibility of attending Apple, Inc. shareholder meetings and listening to every Apple (AAPL) quarterly earnings conference call. Tim Cook presides at these events and many others. I can tell you that I would be very comfortable with Tim Cook running Apple. He is a confident and capable executive who is very much on top of Apple’s business operations, product development path and and financials.  This in no way is intended to dismiss the importance of Steve Jobs’ vision, drive and leadership at the helm of Apple, Inc., but rather to reinforce how deep Apple’s bench truly is.

More on Tim Cook via Fortune Apple 2.0 > HERE

Tim Cook article via Fortune > “The Genius Behind Steve”

WSJ’s Walt Mossberg on Steve Jobs Video 

picture-17Apple Shareholders Are Wusses

Read John Paczkowski’s full post at All Things Digital > HERE

EXCERPT: Ironic, isn’t that, that in this decade of CEO scandals and corporate duplicity, shareholders are punishing Apple (AAPL) — which in its last quarterly statement, reported earnings of $1.14 billion on sales of $7.9 billion, with nearly $25 billion in cash — for allowing CEO Steve Jobs a medical leave of absence?

Apple shares dropped as much as 10 percent Wednesday evening after the company broke the news, slashing more than $6 billion off its market cap. And they’re trading lower again today.



A timid group, Apple investors — risk averse and apparently too easily frightened actually own the stock. Faithless. Because to sell on this news, or any of the Jobs-related health rumors or reports the company has suffered this past year is silly.

Because if Jobs were to leave Apple – willingly or otherwise – people won’t suddenly stop buying Macs. The iPod won’t suddenly go the way of the Walkman and early adopters won’t suddenly lose interest in the next gen iPhone. Nor, Houdini-meets-Edison magic that Jobs has brought to Apple suddenly dissipate.

Yes, Jobs’s sensibility pervades Apple’s culture and its products, but that culture and those products are in not tethered to his health or day-to-day presence at the company. And Apple’s deep executive bench is more than capable of running it — and running it well — in his absence.

Apple will endure — with or without Steve Jobs. There will be a post-Jobs era and whether it begins this year or 20 years from now is of little consequence. So, if you’ve sold your Apple shares on any of these Jobs health reports … well, you won’t be watching them spike when the company announces the next iPhone or reports another blow-out quarter, now will you?

Read John Paczkowski’s full post at All Things Digital > HERE


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There have been plenty of rumors suggesting a low cost “nano” iPhone will make its debut at MacWorld 2009.  A smaller iPhone Nano?…or a full-size iPhone with no 3G and reduced storage? Hmmm?

iphone_world-dominationRegardless of the size (“Even the small talk will be big!”) of any new iPhone model that might be introduced at MacWorld … iPhonAsia believes that Apple intends to address the truly massive numbers of prepaid wireless users in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines.

picture-52Pre-paid wireless users are not under contract and don’t pay a monthly package fee for service. Prepaid users buy the airtime as they need it and generally do not have to pay a deposit for service. Topping up prepaid accounts is often done by going on-line, or by phone, bank machine or with a prepaid SIM card.

Apple COO Tim Cook addressed the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference in late February 2008. He hinted that Apple would address the pre-paid market. The two largest pre-paid markets are India and China. Approximately 2/3rds of China Mobile’s 400 million subscribers are pre-paid. 

Apple COO Tim Cook: See > HERE

cookthumbnail1“When you look at some of the international markets, you find that the markets are very different … you might find one where there is no post pay business … or minimal (post pay) … that might need a different business model. You might find one (market) where being exclusive might not be in our best interest.

And so I am not announcing what we will and won’t do … I am announcing that we are going to intelligently think about each one (each market) and then decide what is best for the company to do … And I will tell you that there is no shortage of interest in the iPhone by the carriers. You know I think that they see it as an enormous way to increase ARPUs (Average Revenue Per User) on their system … I think they see it as a fundamental, revolutionary device that gets people interested in data and really using their (the carriers’) network.” 


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