Editorial by Luke Jones on Friday June 27, 2014.
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Google showed at I/O yesterday that its Android operating system is moving onto the next step, creating a connected sphere of Android across multiple form factors. Even before the I/O event I spoke to several investors who revealed that there is a genuine worry among Apple stockholders that the company is losing ground on Google. Speaking to several sources in Apple over the last few months I have learned that Tim Cook's position as CEO of the brand is possibly under threat over the next year.Admittedly, both of my sources in Cupertino are not at an executive level, but they are in and around the process of marketing products and organizing launches. While the notion of Tim Cook under pressure may seem ridiculous, it is actually not that much of a stretch, although it depends on numerous factors. Investor pressure will be the chief among those factors, as those who have interests in Apple are worried about the company's long term strategy. On the surface it would be foolhardy to bet against Apple; after-all, this is a company that continues to make record sales and turn in dizzying profits. Indeed, at the end of company's fiscal financial year on September 27, 2014 there should be plenty to be pleased about again. However, while investors got into Apple to make money in the short term, they also bought into the idea that the company would continue to lead the industry in the long term. That long term future is now murkier than it has been perhaps since the turn of the century and there are people on the board who believe Tim Cook is running out of time. There are definitely many within the walls of Cupertino who are decidedly concerned about Google's progress and yesterday's I/O highlighted just how far behind Apple has slipped. Google sent a message this week to its biggest competitor and laid down a marker as the company taking the lead in wearable tech, in car systems, and TV. Apple may still be in charge of smartphones and tablets, but in nascent and future markets like those mentioned above, the company is now lagging behind. For investors and some higher ups in Apple, that means the buck stops with Tim Cook, who they think has not progressed the company quickly enough since Steve Jobs passed. Would Jobs already have an iWatch, a TV set, and other systems on the market already? It is almost a pointless question, but one that keeps being asked. Under Cook's stewardship, Apple has failed to launch such products, while it has reacted lazily to changing trends in the smartphone market. On the other hand though, under his stewardship the company has continued to rake in huge amounts of profit. It is a double edged sword, but there is now a genuine feeling inside and around Apple that Cook needs a big 6 to 12 months if he is going to keep his job. The company is already on the right track with new larger screened iPhones set to land this fall, while the iPad range almost takes care of itself as the market leader. Apple needs an iWatch and possibly something in the TV market within the next year, but more than that the company needs to do what it did with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad...innovate. Simply put, Apple must arrive in these nascent markets and change them instantly and for the better, otherwise Tim Cook will be out of a job this time next year.