The tech world has been buzzing about whether Tim Cook should be replaced as CEO of Apple for months. Now, Fox News is reporting that the board that put him in the chief executive seat is getting weary of waiting on new innovation.
Apple's board of directors -- which includes the likes of Disney CEO Roger Iger, J.Crew's Millard Drexler, and former U.S. vice president Al Gore -- is starting to grumble about lost iPhone market share, declining tablet share and dipping stock prices.
Fox correspondent Charlie Gasparino made it clear that Cook's job wasn't in immediate danger, but the board is concerned. Given the fact that Apple's stock prices have dropped from $700 in 2012 to $461 in 2013, it's not hard to understand the worries.
The Heat is On
"What have they had lately? They have had the iPad, they've had a few other things, but they don't have anything innovating from what came from [Apple co-founder] Steve Jobs," Gasparino said. "And that concern is basically manifesting into pressure on Tim Cook to innovate -- do something fast."
There is no lack of rumors about what Apple may be working on. The iPhone 5S is certainly forthcoming, but how much different it will be from the current generation is speculative. There's talk of an iWatch, but Samsung is beating Apple out of the gate. There's chatter about the future of Apple TV, but nothing concrete.
Apple's iPad saw a lower-than-predicted shipment total of 14.6 million units in the second quarter, down from 19.5 million in the first quarter. In past years, Apple has launched a new tablet heading into the second quarter but many expect the company to hold off on a new product until later this year to tap into holiday shopping season opportunities.
The iPhone maker beat Wall Street expectations on shipping volumes but nevertheless posted a year-over-year decline in the second quarter. Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period.
"The pressure is really on these CEOs to constantly perform," Gasparino said. "Every time I hear 'the board is concerned,' it's always the starting point for: 'Is this the right guy for the job?'"
The Heat is On
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, to get his take on the hubbub. He told us the same thing he's been saying since before Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
"Tim Cook is not the guy. Tim Cook is a great lieutenant. You need an amazing general. He's not the general. It's not that he's incompetent. He's just the wrong guy in that job," Enderle said.
"This is a board mistake and you can see how it happened. Steve Jobs was tied at the hip to Apple. Steve wanted to make sure that whoever was in the job while he was on sabbatical would get booted out when he came back," Enderle said. "He wasn't picking a replacement -- he was picking a placeholder. By the time he realized he wasn't coming back it was too late. He wasn't part of the decision process on who would succeed him."