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In Defense of Apple's Tim Cook

Tickers in this article: AAPL

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Running a big company is not like running a baseball team.

We're used to calling on the managers or general managers of our favorite teams to be fired willy-nilly, and they often are, in all sports. Even though we know that long-term success comes from keeping faith with someone through the hard times, we still do it.

So why don't we have patience with Apple CEO Tim Cook? Obviously, it's because a lot of people have lost a lot of money over the last six months, making short-term bets on the long-term proposition that is Apple Inc.

Whose fault is that? Is it Cook's? Or is it ours?


On the eve of Apple's latest earnings release, we're hearing the same Monday morning quarterbacking you get after your baseball team loses. Our Rocco Pendola has compiled some of the latest. What Wall Street wants now, as Wired notes, is some quick action to boost the stock price, which when you take the cash out is now cheaper than Ford .

But the fact is, managing any big company for the short term is like thinking a single player or coach will win you a championship. It's done by teams. Casey Stengel didn't win any pennants managing the Boston Braves. Winners are also teams whose leaders are looking at the long term, not the short term.

I'm privileged to be a fan of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. They have won one title, in 1995. But they are always in the hunt. They're always very good. They make money. They're an organization. And that's what you want out of a business, as opposed to a sports team. You want an organization.


That's what Tim Cook is trying to build, an organization. Out of the top-down entrepreneurial genius that Steve Jobs left him, Cook is trying to build an organization that can win consistently. By many measures he is doing just that.

If you buy Apple stock today, you will make a profit in five years. When everyone is selling something, that's when you should be buying. But this has nothing to do with whether Apple is a well-managed company, managed for the long term.