Apple Poll: Cook's Doing a Great Job

James Rogers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple(:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has put in an impressive performance since taking over for his iconic predecessor, Steve Jobs, according to TheStreet's readers.

Some 78% of respondents to TheStreet's ongoing poll on the Apple chief say he is doing a great job, while just over 19% say that "the jury's still out." A mere 2.5% of readers say Cook has been a disappointment.

Previously Apple's chief operating officer, Cook assumed the highest-profile job in Silicon Valley last August when Jobs stepped down as CEO. An acclaimed operations guru and key Apple insider, questions were nonetheless asked about Cook's ability to drive the company's innovation engine.

Cook, however, has certainly been busy. He's overseen the launch of the iPhone 4S, the new iPad, and most recently, the iOS 6 operating system along with a MacBook refresh. Still, Apple's legion of fanboys continue to eagerly await the iPhone 5 and the much-hyped Apple TV, also known as iTV.

"It is hard to argue with Cook's performance up to this point," noted Apple investor Chad Brand, in an email to TheStreet. "I would give him an 'A' so far - in fact, I would go as far as to say if one didn't get any non-financial news from the company over the last year, it would be hard to know Jobs was not still heading the firm."

Brand, who is president of Peridot Capital Management and author of the Peridot Capitalist blog, added that it appears as if Apple is running just as smoothly as before.

"As an investor, there is not much more that one could ask for from an operational standpoint, so I can't say there are any places to improve yet," he noted.

Clearly comfortable pushing Apple in a new direction, Cook also reversed Apple's dividend strategy earlier this year, announcing plans for the company's first payment since 1995. Apple also announced a $10 billion share repurchase plan.

Rumors of a smaller version of the iPad tablet, dubbed the "iPad Mini", have also swirled recently despite Apple's prior assertion that smaller-screen tablets are "dead on arrival".

"Knowing that Cook is willing to make decisions that reportedly were against Jobs' views (a smaller iPad for one, and a stock buyback and dividend for two) show that he is willing to change course if he sees fit, which can potentially benefit the company post-Jobs," noted Brand. "I think investors will give Cook an 'A' grade until the product innovation takes a step backwards, if and when it ever does. And if the new iTV impresses, that might not even be a possibility for another two to three years at a minimum."

Investors get another opportunity to rate Cook's performance when Apple reports its third-quarter results after market close. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant to report revenue of $37.22 billion and earnings of $10.37 a share.

TheStreet will be live-blogging Apple's third-quarter earnings, starting at 3:45 p.m. EDT.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

Follow @jamesjrogers

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