Yesterday, Wall Street Journal published a report describing the years and events leading up to design chief Jony Ives recently announced departure. Among other things, it claimed that Ive had become more and more detached from the company and its design team after Steve Jobs's death, partly because of his frustration with a new emerging Apple leadership that focused more on operations than design.
In the wake of this report, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who claimed to have frustrated Ive with his lack of interest in product design, claimed the sources of history sent NBC News and MSNBC Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers calling the story "absurd. " Cook said "the conclusions just do not match reality" and claimed that it "distorts" the events described. Byers then claimed on Twitter that a Wall Street Journal spokesman told him "the paper stands by its report".
The story "builds on conversations over more than a year with people who worked with Mr. Ive, as well as people near Apple's leadership," Journal says. It claims that Ive broke with other members of the company's management over the position of Apple Watch, which he saw as a fashion-focused product. Meanwhile, the unnamed executives saw it as an extension of the iPhone, and they felt that the company had lost its focus on design that key older roles were stacked with operations and business-focused personnel.
According to the report, Ive was promoted in 2015 to the Chief Design Officer, not only to recognize his expanded oversight for not only hardware but software, retail and more, but also as a way to let him take more time to work from home to make room for the company to think of a frustrating year that saw Watch, a product he was heavily invested in, did not meet the initial market expectations. The magazine's sources claim that I sometimes hadn't encountered meetings, and seemed to be disconnected in someone he participated in, and desperately the design team who admired him.
Ive been given a more involved role again in 2017, the play says, but he again became less engaged over time, at least in part because he often drove to the UK to spend time with his sad father.
With the title "Jony Ive Leaving Apple But His Retirement Started A Long Time ago," the article draws All this together to paint a picture of a company struggling to introduce new products because of today's leadership's emphasis on operations and engineering issues over design that support many observers' theories of the company's struggle to adapt to reality after Steve Jobs. 19659007] Cook's response
Here's Cook's email response, quoted from a tweet by Byers:
Hope you are fine.
The story is absurd. Much of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions, do not match reality. At a basic level, it shows a lack of understanding of how the design team works and how Apple works. It distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don't recognize the company he claims to describe.
The design team is phenomenally talented. As Jony said, they are stronger than ever, and I have full confidence that they will enjoy Jeff, Evans, and Alan's leadership. We know the truth, and we know the incredible things they are capable of doing. The projects they are working on will blow you away.
While it is highly formulated, the email does not exactly clarify what the story Cook believes to be absurd, out of touch with reality, or distorted – a strategy that doubts the report, at the same time as it makes it difficult to productively evaluate the feedback.
At this point, Byers was tweeted :
He was brief on details. But my impression was that he took up insinuation that he didn't care about the design, or that the design was sacrificed for operations and that there was a distance between him and Jony Ive.
Apple's current management has a completely different focus than the company once had. In the wake of lowering iPhone sales, Apple has begun to emphasize ways to make money from users in the long run, by offering what it hopes will be valuable services and content, rather than leaning on high margins and volumes for hardware sales to keep returns to investors strong.
If there has been proper weight for Apple, its shareholders and users have long been seen. Meanwhile, Ive's new design company will count Apple as a customer in 2020 after the transition has ended. So he has not yet completely separated with the company.