Cook: Business as usual at Apple

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Apple COO Tim Cook says that it’s business as usual at Apple despite CEO Steve Jobs’ recent decision to take a leave of absence until June.

No sooner had Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer opened the company’s first quarter FY 09 conference call to analysts than the first question about Steve Jobs’ health appeared.

Analyst Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital asked about Jobs’ health and how it affected the operation and management of the organization. Specifically, Reitzes wanted to know if Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tim Cook would be Jobs’ likely successor “if the worst case scenario” occurs and Jobs is unable to return.

“Steve is the CEO of Apple, and plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions, and Tim will be responsible for our day-to-day operations,” replied Oppenheimer.

Cook provided some additional details.

“There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team. And these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call all 'wicked smart',” said Cook. “And that's in all areas of the company, from engineering, to marketing, to operations, sales, and all the rest.”

Cook told Reitzes that Apple’s focus is on innovation, and that Apple is “on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing.”

Cook explained that Apple believes in simplicity, in owning and controlling primary technologies behind its products, and to participate in markets where it can make a difference.

“And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit where we're wrong, and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well. And... I strongly believe that Apple is doing the best work in its history,” said Cook.

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