Tim Cook vs Steve Jobs: Andreessen Explains How They Differ

16 December 2012, 12:50 pm EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

Renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen sees one major difference between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook: their desire for market share.

While many feared that Apple's fate will go down the drain without its iconic CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, current chief executive Tim Cook has put up his own fight to prove them wrong.

Speaking at an event in New York City, Andreessen explained how different the two Apple CEOs are, and how each has his strengths.

"The Apple playbook under Steve Jobs was a single playbook," said Andreessen. "He would invent a new product category, start with 100% market share, and then every day that goes by, lose market share until some terminal outcome."

To illustrate this theory, Andreessen pointed to the Macintosh computer, the iPhone, the iPod, and the iPad. According to him, the Cupertino giant may own a large chunk of a respective market soon after a product launch, but other companies tent to join the game and bite into its market share. In some cases, such as the iPod, Apple can still remain the biggest vendor. In other cases such as the PC market, however, the company's market share dropped to an inconsequential figure.

Andreessen claims that instead of caring about market share, Jobs focused on a "pricing umbrella" that kept the company's margins stable even as market share started to slide. Cook took over the reins at Apple last year and followed a seemingly different strategy, Andreessen explained.

The venture capitalist pointed to the new iPad Mini, which reportedly brings smaller margins than its full-size counterpart, as proof that Cook is willing to sacrifice big margins for market share. According to him, Cook adopted a different strategy for the sake of software.

"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, noting that the fewer apps available for OS X posed challenges for the platform over the years in its race against Windows.

Should this theory prove to be true, Apple may be headed to a bumpy ride in the smartphone market. According to research firm IDC, 75 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter ran on Google's Android operating system. Android owned 57.5 percent of that market last year.  

 

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