Despite chief executive Tim Cook's generally pleasant demeanor, the overly corporate culture and general feeling of stagnancy at Apple is spurring employee departures. "Some Silicon Valley recruiters and former Apple employees at rival companies say they are seeing more Apple resumes than ever before, especially from hardware engineers," reports Reuters. Similar reports from the websites Business Insider and Benzinga earlier this year attributed the drain to Apple's sinking stock price and its reputation. "More generally there is a growing level of dissatisfaction among Apple executives and employees, and a greater willingness to explore leaving," the investor told Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson in April. The number of employees looking for an exit seems significant: A recruiter with ties to Apple tells Reuters that he is "being inundated by LinkedIn messages and emails both by people who I never imagined would leave Apple and by people who have been at Apple for a year, and who joined expecting something different than what they encountered." (The Reuters report adds that "any brain-drain remains difficult to quantify.")
As is the case in any company, corporate culture starts at the top, meaning that Tim Cook bears much of the responsibility for the exodus. After he took over for the visionary Jobs before his death in August 2011, Cook steered the company in a more traditional direction, with more delegating, more spreadsheets, and more consensus. All of this has aided Apple's bottom line, but it hasn't led to the creation of any revolutionary products or a sense of meaningful momentum. "Some worry that Cook's changes to the culture have doused the fire - and perhaps the fear - that drove employees to try to achieve the impossible," reports Reuters.
Despite Jobs's notoriously difficult disposition, his passion and perfectionism defined the company: Many a blog post has argued that Jobs' demeanor made him a great leader and creator of products, like the spectacularly successful iPhone. Cook doesn't quite have that same emotional investment in the details of the products — as Fortune's Adam Lashinsky explained in a profile of Cook in May 2012, he's more of a business guy. As Reuters reports, Jobs used to have bi-weekly meetings about product lines; Cook delegates that to someone else. Jobs yelled; Cook is quiet. "In meetings, Cook is so calm as to be nearly unreadable, sitting silently with hands clasped in front of himself," the wire service explains.
Cook does have one thing in common with Jobs: A mean streak. (In October, he fired Scott Forstall, the man responsible for the Apple Maps mess-up.) But, unlike Jobs, he uses his ire sparingly, albeit effectively. "He could skewer you with a sentence," a source tells Reuters. "He would say something along the lines of 'I don't think that's good enough' and that would be the end of it and you would just want to crawl into a hole and die."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.