updated 01:15 pm EST, Wed November 16, 2011
Jobs had 'awkward' encounters with businesses
New Apple CEO Tim Cook is likely friendlier to corporate customers than his predecessor, Steve Jobs, suggest two former Apple workers quoted by the New York Times. Identified as having operated in business sales, the sources claim that while he was still just COO, Cook met with corporate customers more often and seemed to appreciated their needs, although he stuck with Jobs' position that Apple should focus on consumers rather than businesses. "Tim was always very good with customers," one of the sources says.
Jobs by contrast is said to have had a difficult relationship with corporate clients. The sources note that in the rare instances in which he met with corporate representatives, fellow Apple executives would brace themselves for the awkward moments created by Jobs' willingness to speak his mind. The Times notes that he referred to CIOs as "orifices" at a 2005 conference. "There are 500 men and women in the Fortune 500 -- CIOs -- that you have to go through," he stated.
One source mentions that in 2007 Jobs met with the head of a conglomerate's healthcare division; the person said his company would adopt the iPhone if Apple added several features to make it work better in enterprise. Jobs responded negatively, pointing out that sales of RIM's business-oriented BlackBerries were vastly outweighed by the overall number of cellphones sold. "Which market would you build for?" he allegedly said sarcastically.
Even before Jobs' death, though, Apple had begun to cater more to the enterprise realm. The Times points out that Apple now has deals with a number of major corporations, including Lowe's, Siemens Energy, Standard Chartered, Boston Scientific, and airlines such as Alaska and United/Continental.