Tech

Josh Brown: in the time of China and Trump, Apple may be better off with a Tim Cook as CEO than a Steve Jobs

Key Points
  • Josh Brown says Apple may be better off with Tim Cook as CEO than the late Steve Jobs amid the U.S. trade war with China.
  • "Could you picture, in a million years, Steve Jobs threading the needle in the way Time Cook has?" he says. 
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Steve Jobs would have been horrible CEO during today's trade war: Josh Brown

Amid the U.S. trade war with China, Apple may be better off with a CEO like Tim Cook than one like the late Steve Jobs, money manager and popular blogger Josh Brown told CNBC on Monday.

Jobs "would have been a horrible CEO in this moment," the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management said during an appearance on "Fast Money Halftime Report." Because he would have to "kowtow to both Beijing and [President Donald] Trump."

He continued: "Could you picture, in a million years, Steve Jobs threading the needle in the way Time Cook has?"

Apple couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Brown described Jobs as a "beacon of innovation" in his time as CEO. But Cook brings "competence, logistical savvy, and calmness," Brown added.

Brown's remarks come amid a critical juncture for Apple. China is a key market for Apple, and many of the company's products are assembled there. Now, Apple is considering shifting many of its operations from China to places like India or the U.S. to soften the impact of the ongoing trade war.

Jobs' successor, Cook, had not been an early supporter of Trump. But Cook has kept in touch with Trump throughout his presidency, including meeting with him on matters involving trade. Cook has also held meetings with China on tender political matters that involve the company.

Just last week, he met the chief of China's market regulator, a week after Apple faced criticism for removing an app in its app store that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements.

Cook has to "live with the reality" that China is a "lifeline" for his business while "simultaneously convincing 'mad dog' Trump that he is going to build things here," Brown said. "He's done it incredibly well. Could you imagine Steve Jobs pulling that off? I really can't."

—CNBC's Kif Leswing and Reuters contributed to this report.