Softer side of Ap­ple emerg­ing

Un­der CEO Tim Cook, the com­pany is mov­ing away from founder Steve Jobs’ hard line.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Peter Svens­son Ap­ple

“Those jobs aren’t coming back.”

That’s what Steve Jobs re­port­edly told Pres­i­dent Obama when asked at a din­ner in early 2011 whether Ap­ple would con­sider mov­ing some of its man­u­fac­tur­ing from China to the United States.

Jobs’ suc­ces­sor, CEO Tim Cook, might have an­other re­sponse for Obama: Yes, we can.

Though the metal edges of its PCs and mo­bile de­vices are as sharp and se­vere as ever, Ap­ple is emerg­ing un­der Cook’s lead­er­ship as a kinder cor­po­rate cit­i­zen. Cook’s an­nounce­ment this week that the com­pany is mov­ing the pro­duc­tion of one of its Mac com­puter lines to the U.S. is just the lat­est step in a soft­en­ing of the com­pany’s im­age af­ter the Oc­to­ber 2011 death of CEO and co-founder Jobs.

“Cook is a gen­tler be­ing in terms of how he projects him­self,” says Gart­ner an­a­lyst Carolina Mi­lanesi. That’s partly of ne­ces­sity, she says — peo­ple wouldn’t tol­er­ate Jobs’ ar­ro­gance in a new CEO — but it’s also a re­flec­tion of Cook’s per­son­al­ity.

Cook didn’t say which com-

JEFF CHIU / AP

Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook (left) talks with mu­si­cian Dave Grohl of the Foo Fight­ers at an iPhone 5 event in San Fran­cisco in Septem­ber. Cook’s re­cent an­nounce­ment that Ap­ple is mov­ing a Mac pro­duc­tion line to the U.S. is the lat­est at­tempt to soften its im­age.

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