Ex-Microsoft COO: The Apple Era May Be On Its Way Out Due To Lack Of Leadership

Bob Herbold is not impressed with Tim Cook. Not at all.

Bob Herbold is not impressed with Tim Cook. Not at all.

Apple’s stock hasn’t been doing too well lately. While many analysts think the problem is that Apple hasn’t released any new products in months, Microsoft’s former COO thinks it’s more of a leadership problem.

In a recent article, former Microsoft COO, Bob Herbold claimed the problem with Apple is that it doesn’t have a visionary leader who is paranoid with details, so Apple’s totally going to start sucking like Microsoft pretty soon.

Talking about Apple’s stock price, Herbold says that good financials aren’t the only piece of the puzzle.

The critical ingredient, besides great financials, is a genuine belief that there is visionary leadership that will lead to a continuing flow of leading edge products and services.

Herbold then goes on to say Apple needs a visionary leader who gets personally involved in the company and leads with guts, while Tim Cook is more like an administrator.

I think the stock market is telling us that the public is beginning to believe that Apple really doesn’t have strong visionary leadership. Apple will be a solid technology company but the Apple era may be on its way out.

Basically, Herbold thinks Apple is screwed without someone like Steve Jobs, and who knows, maybe he’s right. Or maybe in a couple of years his statement will look as silly as those Surface RT tablets Microsoft put out.

As COO of Microsoft from 1994 to 2011, Herbold helped Microsoft atrophy from the world’s most powerful tech company to a perennial underachiever, so he might know what it looks like when a company is facing a long downward slide. Tim Cook took over as Apple’s CEO in 2011, so he’s still working to put his stamp on the company, but so far we think he’s done a pretty decent job.

What do you think? Are Tim Cook’s leadership skills to blame for Apple’s stock problems? Or is something else to blame? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  • nefan65

    Ya, right. From what I’ve seen of late, I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about. MS on the other hand? Surface [FAIL], Windows 8 [FAIL], Office 2013 [FAIL]…

  • tudupka

    How about Bob Herbold focuses on MS problems, nobody seem to be impressed with any of MS leaders.

  • stacypatrick

    flagging companies like MS should spend more time getting their heads out of their collective arses, and less time worrying about what trendsetting successful companies are doing.

  • dcdevito

    I love it when Microsoft and Apple still fight. It’s adorable. Too bad for both of them they’re both screwed.

    #Google.

  • 5imo

    Ya, right. From what I’ve seen of late, I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about. MS on the other hand? Surface [FAIL], Windows 8 [FAIL], Office 2013 [FAIL]…

    FALSE! Surface [EPIC FAIL] Windows 8 [ÜBER FAIL] As no one cares about it at all! Office 2013 just a [FAIL]

  • 5imo

    Bill Gates may have been visionary, but he was a terrible CEO. Who released shoddy, awful products and created a toxic environment within Microsoft. Steve on the other hand released great products and created the best collaborative work environment with a strong emphasis on quality and user experience, if Tim Cook can keept the corporate culture alive with its strong emphasis on quality Apple are set for the next 10 years.

  • Samuraiartguy

    [i]“think the stock market is telling us that the public is beginning to believe that Apple really doesn’t have strong visionary leadership.”[/i]

    I think WALL STREET is trying to tell the PUBLIC that it believes that Apple really doesn’t have strong visionary leadership. We’ve seen a LOT of this junk emanating from Wall Street in recent months.

    Stock Manipulation via the Op-Ed pages? Oh Gee, that NEVER happens… Yes. that was snark.

  • Frank Lowney

    If Herbold didn’t fathom MS decline and do something to reverse it, why should we thing he has any better insight into a company where he isn’t an insider? Looks a lot like sour grapes to me.

  • Steven Quan

    “Bob Herbold claimed the problem with Apple is that it doesn’t have a visionary leader who is paranoid with details”

    Like Ballmer is a great visionary who is paranoid about all the small details? I guess MSFT should be worried cause without Apple they wouldn’t know what to do. All they do is copy. If it weren’t for iPod, iPad, iPhone, they wouldn’t have Zune, Surface, and Windows Phone, not to mention their retails stores are carbon copies as well.

    Why is Cult of Mac featuring quotes from a Microsoft COO?? May as well get quotes from Bill G himself. Ask Herbold what he thinks of iPad? I’m sure that’ll be a really candid answer.

    Cook is getting his legs under him. Just fired Forstall half a year ago. Just made Ive in charge of basically everything less than half a year ago. These are major changes at Apple and you’re not going to see results for a while. Ive is just now sitting at meetings with the software division whereas before, hardware and software weren’t really talking with each other.

    I’m excited to see iOS7. It will give a glimpse of future at Apple and should represent some major changes with all the skeuomorphisms gone.

    Bill Gates may have been visionary, but he was a terrible CEO. Who released shoddy, awful products and created a toxic environment within Microsoft. Steve on the other hand released great products and created the best collaborative work environment with a strong emphasis on quality and user experience, if Tim Cook can keept the corporate culture alive with its strong emphasis on quality Apple are set for the next 10 years.

    I hope you aren’t counting the Zune, Kin, Surface RT, Windows Mobile, Windows 8, Vista, and Windows Phone, under the “great products” umbrella cause you got another thing coming to ya if you do. I also hope you really don’t think MSFT has the best collaborative work environment cause you got another thing coming to ya.

  • MrsCleaver

    “Bob Herbold is not impressed with Tim Cook. Not at all.”

    Of course, because Bob Herbold is so well-known, so reliable a source and such a visionary himself. And because Microsoft is soooo innovative. I mean, Zune… and Windows 7, and Windows 8, and the fantastically popular Windows phone. And all the rest of those incredible Microsoft products.

    Yup, I’m listening to Bob Herbold from now on.

  • oldhouse

    Corollary to Godwin’s Law: When you pose in front of your bookshelf and the only readable titles are a two volume set about Hitler, your opinions on leadership are suspect.

  • technochick

    they don’t need a visionary leader when they have a visionary like Jony Ive

    As for Apple’s stock issue it has more to do with analysts and websites screaming the sky is falling than that the sky is actually falling

  • scottnch

    Ex- you say? Microsoft you say? Meh.

  • scottnch

    Bill Gates may have been visionary, but he was a terrible CEO. Who released shoddy, awful products and created a toxic environment within Microsoft. Steve on the other hand released great products and created the best collaborative work environment with a strong emphasis on quality and user experience, if Tim Cook can keept the corporate culture alive with its strong emphasis on quality Apple are set for the next 10 years.

    You’re talking about Steve Jobs, right, and not Steve Balmer. Just making that clear :-)

    Bill Gates, these days, is the cuddly nice uncle guy, whereas Balmer is maybe the creepy one.

    And the minute anyone gives Tim Cook a look over and thinks about it, they’ll maybe realise that he’s doing not a bad job of running THE WORLDS LARGEST COMPANY!

    As much as I love the cultcast my favourite podcast is Angry Mac Bastards. And it’s shit like this (the old MS duffer, not the article) that they gravitate to, so there! (no natural ending to this sentence).

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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