Tim Cook vs. Steve Ballmer

Zach Epstein

Tim Cook vs. Steve Ballmer
Tim Cook vs. Steve Ballmer

As Apple prepares to file its March-quarter earnings report on Tuesday afternoon after the bell, the company finds itself in a position it hasn’t been in for quite some time. Apple shares have lost more than 40% of their value since hitting a record high in late September and a growing mob of Apple bears is beginning to question whether or not the company should seek a replacement for CEO Tim Cook. Bulls immediately dismiss the idea as lunacy — it does seem pretty crazy, considering Apple’s revenue and profit are still growing despite soured investor sentiment — but The New York Times took a step back on Tuesday to draw some interesting parallels between Tim Cook and another CEO who is no stranger to angry mobs brandishing pitch forks: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer.

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The same Apple pundits who immediately dismiss rumblings about ousting Cook  have been very critical of Ballmer over the years. To be fair, it’s not hard to be critical of a CEO who has seen Microsoft shares lose 43% of their value since his tenure began in 2000. But as The New York Times’ Nick Wingfield points out, calling for Ballmer’s head may be just as absurd — or warranted, depending on your position — as calling for Cook’s.

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In the 13 years since Ballmer took over as Microsoft’s CEO, Wingfield points out that the company’s annual revenue has ballooned 221% to $73.72 billion. Microsoft’s annual profit has grown 80% to $16.98 billion over the same period of time. Compare that to Tim Cook: Since Cook took over as chief executive almost two years ago, Apple’s annual revenue is up 45% to $156.51 billion and profit has grown 61% to $41.73 billion.

Wingfield notes that as the case has been for Microsoft, it’s possible that Cook will continue to see pressure even if Apple’s solid revenue and profit growth continue — Ballmer’s time at Microsoft has clearly shown us that soured sentiment can be quite difficult to reverse.

This article was originally published on BGR.com