The Key Difference Between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, as Seen by Marc Andreessen

Jobs preferred to invent something to start with 100% market-share, says VC

By Filip Truta on December 17th, 2012 10:46 GMT

Marc Andreessen, a renowned venture capitalist and software engineer, spoke about Apple (among other things) at an event in New York City last week, dishing out a few thoughts on its former CEO, Steve Jobs, in a comparison with the current-acting boss, Tim Cook.

Andreessen told the audience at the DealBook conference this Friday that Steve Jobs’ motivation was fundamentally different compared to that of Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO who took over the reins from Jobs in October last year.

According to a quotation by Cnet, Andreessen said that Jobs' “single playbook” was to “invent a new product category, start with 100 percent market share, and then every day that goes by, lose market share until some terminal outcome.”

Cook, on the other hand, prefers to expand the market share of existing products by trying out different strategies. The iPad mini is a good example of that, Andreessen believes.

He also noted that, while Steve Jobs loved the idea of capturing as much market-share as possible, he also had no problem letting copycats chip away at it. Why? Because he saw that, in the long run, Apple’s profit margins were insane.

But Cook also has his eye on the future. Although he’s not the visionary Steve Jobs was, he’s still one heck of a leader.

“In the long run in these markets, if you're not the majority market share, you don't have the majority of the apps,” said Andreessen, adding that the Mac’s poor app ecosystem has been a decade-long problem for the platform.

The iPad business shouldn’t encounter the same hurdles thanks to a wide range of choices in both software and hardware now that a “mini” version is also available, Andreessen suggested.

It remains to be seen whether Cook’s strategy pans out for all Apple products.
Tim Cook (left), and Steve Jobs - two different leaders, both with a keen eye on the future
   Tim Cook (left), and Steve Jobs - two different leaders, both with a keen eye on the future
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