When it became clear that Steve Jobs was very ill, everybody was wondering who will take the lead, and whether the successor would ever fill Jobs' huge shoes. Steve Jobs was, after all, an incredible visionary, a creative genius, and many believed that Apple would dramatically fail without him.

When Jobs eventually decided to step down as CEO, it came as no great surprise that Tim Cook was chosen to serve as the new CEO. During the 30 years in the industry, Cook has managed to distinguish himself after spending the first half with IBM and Compaq, then serving as Jobs' right hand at Apple for more than 14 years.

The Right Choice

Tim Cook joined Apple's operations team as senior VP, but quickly advanced to worldwide head of sales, Chief Operating Officer and head of the Macintosh division. Moreover, Cook has been the one to serve either as official interim CEO or effective head of the company during Steve Jobs' three medical leaves of absence since 2004. Still, there was plausible concern as to whether he could follow Jobs' visionary approach running Apple.

Truth be told, he may not be the visionary Steve Jobs was, but it's safe to say he's doing a pretty good job. Moreover, according to Business Insider, the iPad would have cost $5,000 instead of just $500, if it weren't for Cook.

While the Rest of the Industry Struggles, Apple Gets Fat Gross Margins

The folks over at Business Insider have discussed the state of the PC business with an industry veteran, currently working for one of Apple's competitors. According to the source, Apple manages to achieve a 45 percent gross margin, while brands such as HP, Acer, Samsung, Dell and many others are still struggling to squeeze a profit from PC sales. The industry veteran then proceeded to explain the real difference between Apple and the rest: If it weren't for Tim Cook, the iPad would cost $5000.

Cook was able to figure out logistics and manage the supply chain so Apple could earn those fat margins. This isn't the first time we've heard people marvel at Cook's operation ability, but it was the best phrasing for it we've ever heard, reads the Business Insider article. It's also a good reminder of how important Cook is to Apple.

Cook's Own Mark as Apple CEO

Indeed, Cook managed to have a strong influence, without trying to be exactly like Jobs and without trying to dramatically change the course of the company. The few things he chose to do differently portray his own values, but do not threaten Apple's well-being.

Since he took over the helm of the company, Cook has implemented the charitable donation program; reconsidered issuing dividends for stockholders, something that Jobs opposed; he reacted rapidly to issues such as the conditions of workers in China, clarifications in the iBooks author EULA, or iPhone issues with AT&T, and others, proving promptness and efficiency in leading the company. With such small, yet significant steps, Cook is gradually reinforcing confidence that Apple is still strong and on the right track even without the beloved Steve Jobs.

'Cook's Operational Brilliance'

The real reason Apple is the most valuable company in the world right now isn't that it makes ultra-sexy iPads and iPhones. It's because it makes ultra-sexy iPhones and iPads and charges the same price as its rivals, or less, for those gadgets, states Business Insider. Thanks to Cook's operational brilliance no one has matched the iPad on price, and the stock has been a rocketship.

(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)

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