In his tenure as Apple CEO, Tim Cook has taken a company built by Steve Jobs, and transformed it into something a bit more corporate, according to a new report.
Although Cook himself wouldn't sit down with Fortune, the publication today published a feature citing several sources with knowledge of how the Apple chief executive has changed the company. Chief among those changes, Fortune says, is a switch from engineering-driven decision making to one that more conservatively considers production efficiency, and thus, cost-savings.
"I've been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management," former Apple engineering vice president Max Paley told Fortune in an interview published today. "When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority."
Cook is by no means against making Apple a creative playground, according to Fortune, but he does feel as though the company should be run more as a major corporation. In fact, one source told Apple that it has become "far more traditional," and has more structure in its corporate ladder than it did under Jobs.
Tim Cook officially took over as Apple CEO last August after Jobs stepped down. Cook had served as Apple's chief operating officer, and was widely viewed as the main reason the company's supply chain has worked so well over the years. That experience might also have contributed to Cook's desire to consider global-supply management in his company's product decisions.
According to Fortune, Cook is also a somewhat friendly chief executive. Gone are the days when employees were scared to make a mistake for fear of reprisal at the hands of their chief executive. In fact, one source told Fortune that "people are breathing now" at the company. And unlike Jobs, who would typically only eat lunch with his design guru Jonathan Ive, Cook has been known to have lunch with random employees in the company's cafeteria, according to Fortune.
Such friendliness has helped make Cook extremely popular among his employees. In March, careers site Glassdoor revealed that Cook had received a 97 percent approval rating from employees over the previous 12-month period, making him the world's top-rated CEO. In the prior year, Jobs, who was nearly universally revered by his employees, earned a 95 percent approval rating on Glassdoor. When he stepped down as CEO last year, Jobs left behind the same 97 percent approval rating Cook currently enjoys.
Investors might also be pleased with Cook's job. Over the last year alone, Apple shares have jumped 72 percent, and, at times, have made the company the world's largest in terms of market capitalization. Since late August, Apple's shares are up 52 percent. Like his predecessor, Cook has been able to keep Apple's financials soaring -- and beat Wall Street estimates, even when they seemed daunting.
But despite similar success, it's clear Cook and Jobs would not have made the same decisions on all moves. For example, according to a Fortune source, some employees at Apple are "embarrassed" by the company's virtual personal assistant Siri. The application, which is in beta, has gone through its fair share of rough spots, and failed to deliver the right answers in many cases. It recently went as far as saying that the Nokia Lumia 900, not the iPhone, is the best smartphone ever.
Cook has stuck with Siri and allowed the slings and arrows from critics to bounce off him. Fortune says a former insider, however, says Jobs would have had a much different reaction.
"Steve would have lost his mind over Siri," the person said.
In other words, although Apple might look about the same on the outside, on the inside, things appear to be changing.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the Fortune feature. We will update this story when we have more information.
This story has been updated throughout the morning.