As Tim Cook set to receive $100M+ on 5th anniversary as CEO, Financial Times rates his performance


With Tim Cook set to receive more than $100M in stock bonuses as he reaches his fifth anniversary as Apple’s CEO today, the Financial Times has assessed the performance of AAPL under his leadership in a series of five charts.

In a ‘good news, bad news’ chart, the FT begins with a Bloomberg chart showing cumulative sales of the iPhone against income from the device as a percentage of total revenue. While analysts have focused on recent year-on-year dips, there’s no arguing with the steady rise in cumulative sales, Apple recently selling its billionth iPhone.

But the overall trend is also for the company to be increasingly dependent on iPhone revenue, making the decline in sales more worrying than it might otherwise be …

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“The iPhone’s huge success also makes it difficult for any other Apple product to stand out. “For any other consumer electronics company, the Apple Watch would be a success beyond their wildest dreams,” says Ben Wood of CCS Insight. “Juxtaposed against the iPhone it looks like a disappointment … It’s not necessarily the stellar product that everyone hoped it would be.”

Apple’s cash hoard continues to grow (below), from $121B when Cook took the helm to $232B today. But Cook has balanced this with stock buybacks and dividend payments.


Apple has almost doubled its staff in the past five years, with the FT pointing to international R&D hires in particular. One downside of that grow in employees is the increasing difficulty of maintaining the company’s famous secrecy.

Apple’s market cap has doubled under Cook’s watch, the FT praising his much more open style of communication with shareholders without bowing to pressure.

Tim Bajarin of the Creative Strategies consultancy says Mr Cook does not worry too much about pleasing shareholders from one quarter to the next. “Tim’s mantra has always been, ‘If we make the best products, the stock will be fine’.”

The final chart shows the cumulative totals of iOS devices sold and in active use.


Asymco analyst Horace Dediu says this demonstrates that Cook is absolutely right to draw increasing attention to revenue from services.

Mr Dediu argues that Wall Street is looking at Apple all wrong. Instead of being another hits-driven consumer electronics company that could go the way of Nokia or BlackBerry, he views it as a luxury brand with recurring revenues from a growing base of loyal customers […]

Mr Dediu estimates that, including hardware and software, Apple customers spend around $1 a day. “Apple will at some point in time have a billion paying customers,” he predicts. “A billion dollars a day from a billion customers is not inconceivable.”

MacRumors notes that the combination of Cook’s five year tenure and financial performance of the company means that more than $100M in restricted stock units will vest today.

Cook’s bonus includes 700,000 tenure-based restricted stock units that vested today as part of a larger compensation package of over 4.7 million shares awarded on August 24, 2011, in addition to his first of six annual installments of 280,000 tenure-based restricted stock units that vested today. The combined 980,000 shares are valued at nearly $106.7 million based on AAPL’s closing price of $108.85 on Tuesday.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt rounded up a bunch of other fifth anniversary pieces:

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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