Apple board nervous about pace of innovation, says Fox

Macworld Australia Staff
9 August, 2013
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Despite what Rush Limbaugh believes about Apple being the tech equivalent of the Republican Party in the US, Rupert Murdoch’s notably conservative Fox Business Network certainly isn’t feeling particularly sympathetic to the Cupertino, California company.

On Thursday, Fox ran a negative and largely speculative story about the Apple board’s apparent concern regarding the company’s pace of innovation in its Countdown to the Closing Bell program. It was a story that, at best, was pessimistic about the company’s immediate future and, at worst, intended to foster instability and create fodder for doomsayers.

In a lengthy report, Fox Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino reported that, according to his “solid sources”, there is clear unrest in Apple’s upper echelons.

“There is now on the board level a recognition that something needs to be done about the future in terms of what’s in the pipeline, what they are going to do in the future and are they innovating enough and is Tim Cook innovating enough as CEO,” said Gasparino.

Displaying graphics of plummeting figures and noting that Apple’s stock price “is down 35 percent from its all-time high”, Gasparino was careful to emphasise that this “does not mean that Tim Cook is out of a job or that there’s a job search inside Apple”, while clearly planting seeds of doubt in his audience’s minds.

In the most spectacular display of fence-sitting, Gasparino veered back and forth between assuring viewers that the board were “100 percent behind” Tim Cook, to “I’m going to tell you logic now; every time I hear that the board is concerned, that’s always been the starting point for ‘is this the right guy for the job?’”

After something more concrete, at one point Countdown to the Closing Bell anchor Liz Claman chimed in with, “You know what’s next. They start floating names of who might do better.”

The pair then went on to discuss the make-up of the Apple board, noting the presence of heavy hitters such as Al Gore, Disney CEO Bob Iger and the ex-CEO of Gap Millard Drexler, finding a moment for another quick jab of anti-democrat bias, wrapped up in a back-handed compliment. “Al Gore’s a smart guy,” said Gasparino. “And he’s probably the biggest lightweight on that board.”

There was also time for a little light-hearted banter about their own technical savvy. Gasparino brandished a (decidedly non-smart) phone, admitting, “How innovative I am! I’m probably the last person who should be doing this story,” while Claman countered with, “What is that thing? Does that have pistons in it?”

Funny phones aside, according to Gasparino the key message is, “It’s a pressure on Tim Cook, to innovate, to do something fast.” You can see the full exchange between Gasparino and Claman here.

by Macworld Australia staff


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