Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs

Thursday, 3 January, 2019

First up: WTF is Greater China? “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” wrote Tim Cook in yesterday’s lugubrious, 1,400-word “Letter from Tim Cook to Apple investors.” The problem with the term “Greater China” is Taiwan. If you say Taiwan is a part of “Greater China,” it’s an insult to the many Taiwanese who consider Taiwan a part of the China whose legitimate government was the Republic of China, not the despotic People’s Republic of China.

And, depending on who’s doing the talking, “Greater China” can be an economic, cultural or geographical term. So, some Chinese nationalists might use it to refer to mainland China, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan or, for those nationalists who see China in cultural terms, it might encompass Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

What Tim Cook might have said is that the Chinese market is crazy and the iPhone had an awful last quarter, and he should have ended by adding that the iPhone is the gold standard of the smartphone business and he intends to increase its market share.

Better still, Cook should have copied the style of the earnings warning Steve Jobs delivered to investors on 18 June 2002. It was precise and concise and 1,200 words shorter than that presented yesterday by his successor.


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