Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday offered a particularly harsh take on “Haunted Empire,” a new book that chronicles Apple in the post-Steve Jobs era.

The book, written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane, offers a critical assessment of how Apple has fared in the years since Jobs’s death.

“This nonsense belongs with some of the other books I’ve read about Apple,” Cook said in an email to CNBC. “It fails to capture Apple, Steve, or anyone else in the company.”

In the book, Kane paints a picture of an Apple that is struggling to find its way without its longtime leader.

Kane also goes to great lengths to describe the differences between Jobs and Cook.

That said, venting in an email to a reporter or customer is exactly the kind of thing Jobs did from time to time.

Cook, as he has in the past, repeated his confidence in Apple’s future.

“We’ve always had many doubters in our history,” he said in the email. “They only make us stronger.”

Update: In an email, Kane told Re/code that it seems her book touched a nerve with Cook. Here’s her full statement.

“For Tim Cook to have such strong feelings about the book, it must have touched a nerve,” Kane said. “Even I was surprised by my conclusions, so I understand the sentiment. I’m happy to speak with him or anyone at Apple in public or private. My hope in writing this book was to be thought-provoking and to start a conversation which I’m glad it has.”

Here’s Kane on CNBC earlier today:




14 comments
Per Sjofors
Per Sjofors

I’m an Apple guy. I write this on my Mac Pro using Apple’s Pages word processor, my laptop is a MacBook Pro. I run my music library from another MacBook Pro. I have an AppleTV and an iPad. My wife uses an iMac. We both have iPhones. 


In 2002, I decided I had enough of the unreliability of Windows and I switched back to using Macs. For years I followed the company. I read blogs and magazines about Apple. I read or listened to announcements they made. Watched the keynote speeches from MacWorld and the Word Wide Developers Conference. These were all full of excitement and hope. Hope for products that made my life better. I was fully immersed in Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field.  


Because of that, and despite being expected, Jobs’ death affected me personally much more than I thought it would. It felt almost like loosing a friend. From an emotional point of view, I very much wanted to believe that the processes he put in place and the Apple University would continue his legacy of a company that inspires, that develop great products and is a great innovator. From a rational point of view, I knew this would not happen...


Yukari Iwatani Kane’s book is an excellent review on what has gone on at Apple after Jobs’ death. How the company lost its mojo. How the company’s eternal “patting itself on the back” as a marketing stunt does not work when it cannot innovate anymore. She manages to explain why I do not longer follow blogs and media who write about Apple. Why I don’t care anymore about the keynotes. Why the company is not longer an inspiration. 


Tim Cook’s reaction to the book is also telling. He says "This nonsense belongs with some of the other books I've read about Apple," Cook said. "It fails to capture Apple, Steve, or anyone else in the company.”


However reality tells a different story. No innovation since Jobs died, no new products, just refinements, declining profits, declining market share and declining share price. In fact, the company’s recent accelerated share buy-back program is another warning sign - companies who cannot pump up their share price with great products and innovation anymore, resort to the old supply and demand rule.


It turns out that Tim Cook lives in another reality distortion field; an internally focused reality distortion field that prevent him to see Apple’s position in the marketplace as it is. He appear to truly think that product refinements and improvements are the same as innovation, and, of course, it is not. 


Sad.

SteveChang
SteveChang

I too have not read the book, but the defensive posture taking by Tim Cook probably shows that it hit too close to home. Any reasonable observer should be able to tell that Apple has been a disaster after the death of Steve Jobs. My ipad crashes constantly after ios7. Crashes were not something Apple ever were associated with before. Add to that the lack of innovations, the small iphone screen etc. 

Jocelyn
Jocelyn

I've not read the book yet,  but clearly the (down to ~$530 for a high of ~$700) stock price is  a referendum on Cook's tenure.  While I fervently hope that Apple has some gamechanging projects in the backroom, Cook has not represented Apple well as its visionary, its apostle.


His "60 Minutes" performance was awful.  "I'm a workaholic?"   And words to the effect of "We've got great stuff brewing, but I can't tell you about them yet?"  Where's the vision?


Cook's expertise in manufacturing is invaluable to Apple.   


How about drafting Jon Ive as the face and visionary of Apple instead?  No need to change titles or roles.  Just have Ive talk about where Apple is going, about how it'll change the world, about that "one more thing."

Kelvin
Kelvin

"My hope in writing this book was to be thought-provoking and to start a conversation which I’m glad it has."

Really?! Not to sell books and get rich?

Lol @her statement -- she apparently thinks she is the next Steve Jobs, who can once again save Apple from going bankrupt.

davesmall
davesmall

Tim Cook has outstanding credibility. This author, not so much.

ClemyNX
ClemyNX

Kane first says that the 4S selling well compared to the 5 was a sign that Apple is failing. Then she says that the 5S selling more than the 5C is bad too. It doesn't make sense. Like the whole book. She just doesn't understand tech.

elio_enidias
elio_enidias

Apple hasn't released any major new products since Jobs' death, and Apple's strategic position has slipped. Tim Cook has good reason to get emotional about anything which might make his position even more precarious.

Josh E
Josh E

Anecdotal, but I've had this same conversation with a number of people over the last few weeks about how it feels like Apple is slipping a bit. New Macs don't seem very exciting and there seem to be lots of issues with iOS making iPhones unstable aren't helping.

Slurpy2k13
Slurpy2k13


@elio_enidias  Yeah you're right. The Retina iPad, iPad Mini, iPad mini with Retina, iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5S, Retina Macbook Pros, redesigned iMacs, redesigned Mac Pro, major overhauls of iOS, major new OSX versions, overhauled all consumer and professional apps, major steps forward like Touch ID and 64 bit chips- none of those count as new products. 


Apple has $170Billion in the bank, made almost 60Billion in revenues last quarter, and is continually smashing their sales records, not to mention having the most critically well reviewed products in the industry. 


Yeah, what a precarious position Cook is in. The company can disintegrate at any moment. It's nice if once in a while, trolls like you use reality, and facts, to back up your broad statements of doom. But you never will, because the facts dont fit your narrative. 

ClemyNX
ClemyNX

What do you mean by "even more precarious"? Apple keeps selling more iPhones every quarter. The iPhone came 6 years after the iPod and the iPad 3 years after the iPhone. And the iPad came out less than 4 years ago!

davesmall
davesmall

@Josh E  C'mon - stop it with the nonsense please. You have a Windows PC on your desk and an Android in your pocket and you're simply trying to justify those two very bad choices.

Slurpy2k13
Slurpy2k13

@Josh E  Amazing how people who always bash Apple on messageboard always have "friends" who think that Apple is "slipping", or everyone around them is switching to Android, etc. That isn't really reflected in reality, so its either always lies, or they're living in an Apple-hate bubble. 

jfh_007
jfh_007

You must have completely missed the new Mac Pro. With Jony Ive and his small team of designers, Apple is still pushing the envelope in design, manufacturing, and innovative uses of materials.

ClemyNX
ClemyNX

Contrary to 2001-2006 which were so exciting compared to now...give me a break!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 274,889 other followers