Steve Jobs often responded directly to fans and customers by e-mail, which were then posted to blogs, but a curious thing happened after the late Apple co-founder resigned in August and quieted his digital communications.
E-mails from the new CEO, Tim Cook, began landing in the inboxes of enthusiastic Apple fans and on the same blogs that followed Jobs’ every word.
Cook replied to several people who sent notes of congratulations.
“Thanks Gary,” he told Gary Ng, who blogs for iPhone in Canada.
“Thanks Zech,” he told Zech Yohannes of Denver, Colorado.
Cook graduated from Auburn University and is known to be a fan of its sports teams. So when an apparent graduate of his alma mater sent Cook a congratulatory e-mail, he responded: “Thanks Justin. War Eagle Forever!”
Like Jobs before him, Cook has also started handling customer-relations inquiries.
One person e-mailed Cook bemoaning the loss of file-and-preference synchronization in the transition from Internet services MobileMe to iCloud. The message was forwarded to the executive relations team that Jobs regularly tapped for similar e-mails, and a representative responded by calling the sender and explaining that Apple is open to bringing those features back if the company receives enough feedback requesting them.
Boston-based blogger Ben Gold offered Cook a line of unsolicited advice when Jobs’ deputy was named as Apple’s chief.
“I honestly have no recollection of sending this email (to Cook). It was actually a really stupid thing for me to write,” Gold wrote on his blog afterward. “I’m totally qualified to be giving advice to the new CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world, right?”
What Gold wrote in his e-mail was this: “Don’t be Steve Jobs, be Tim Cook.”
To his surprise, Cook wrote back.
He replied: “Don’t worry. It’s the only person I know how to be.”