Don't Blame Tim Cook for Apple's Lack of Oomph

Tim Cook speaks at WWDC 2013 in San Francisco.
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Tim Cook speaks at WWDC 2013 in San Francisco.

Let me just toss it out there: Blaming Tim Cook for Apple's lack of oomph is, at best, narrow and more likely, misguided.

While Steve Jobs may have been better with the kind of theatrics and execution that come with having been anointed an icon, as his death showed: He was also only human. He catapulted Apple well ahead of the curve on innovation and coolness and sheer execution.

But even as he was dying, Apple was headed for a collision with reality.

On one hand, the likes of Google and Samsung were becoming increasingly competitive. And, as I wrote back in October, Apple appeared to have finally "just struck that point that all fast-growing companies hit—where its phones and operating system are so good they can't really technologically leapfrog themselves in a meaningful way."

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Face it, Apple matured—and it did so with lightning speed after leaving behind a trail of products and technology in the kind of compressed period many of us (depending on our ages!) may never see again. Investors have taken notice: Shares of the company are down nearly 40% from their high of $700 last September.

Nobody—not Steve Jobs, not Tim Cook, not the Wizard of Oz—could reverse this.

Jobs might have tinkered, but he may not have changed the current outcome. Let's not forget, even the creation of iTunes radio, which may appear to be copycat, was a missed opportunity while Jobs was alive.

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After all, Apple had (an albeit, feeble effort) at radio on iTunes well before Pandora and Spotify entered the scene. It was under Jobs that the company didn't exploit it.

We're at this point where even Apple fanboys are losing allegiance to all things Apple. They may never veer from their Macs, but they'll try various incarnations of Android phones. Technology is back to being fungible, with consumers picking, choosing and cobbling together whatever looks and feels right.

That's not Tim Cook's fault. That's just life. (P.S. to the Apple crew: I'm writing this on a five-year-old MacBook Pro, I own an iPhone and I use an iPad, so layoff!)

—By CNBC's Herb Greenberg. Follow him on Twitter:@herbgreenberg and Google .

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