NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – On Aug. 24, 2011, Steve Jobs conceded he could no longer run Apple (AAPL.O). He handed over the top job to Tim Cook, the operating supremo who had stood in during Jobs’ illness. The company was then worth $350 billion. Some feared Cook could never reproduce the innovation inspired by Jobs, notably the world-changing iPhone, first launched in 2007.
It turned out Cook could succeed in other ways. Mostly incremental product launches and supply-chain improvements brought lasting growth, turning Jobs’ vision into the first $1 trillion company. Apple is now worth $2.5 trillion, and that’s after returning around $550 billion to investors through share repurchases and dividends since 2012.
In the past decade, an Apple shareholder has made a total return, including dividends, of some 1,200%: better than Google, now called Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and more than Facebook (FB.O) shares have delivered since the company’s 2012 listing. Apple has benefited less than some in the last year or two . Still, it remains the most valuable corporation on Earth. For shareholders, Cook’s effort to fill the shoes of a legend must be one of the most lucrative of all time. (By Richard Beales)
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Editing by Rob Cox and Marjorie Backman
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