Steve Job, who once described Tim Cook as “not a product guy,” nevertheless picked Cook as his successor for his operations skill and mastery of Apple’s supply and assembly chain, much of which, as designed by Cook, is based in China.
It had been nearly three years since Steve Jobs died at the age of 56, and as C.E.O., Mr. Cook had looked to Mr. Ive — the man Mr. Jobs called his “spiritual partner” — to lead product development… In the wake of Mr. Jobs’s death, colleagues said, Mr. Ive fumed about corporate bloat, chafed at Mr. Cook’s egalitarian structure, lamented the rise of operational leaders and struggled with a shift in the company’s focus from making devices to developing services.
Disillusioned with Mr. Cook’s Apple, Mr. Ive would depart five years later, in 2019. His exit would change forever the balance of power at the top of a company long defined by its product ingenuity, leaving it without one of its most creative thinkers and the driving force behind its last new device category…
In Mr. Ive’s absence, Mr. Cook has accelerated a shift in strategy that has made the company better known for offering TV shows and a credit card than introducing the kind of revolutionary new devices that once defined it.
This account of Mr. Ive’s resignation is adapted from a new book, After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul, that I wrote. The book is based on interviews with more than 200 people, including former and current employees at Apple, as well as with friends and former colleagues of Mr. Ive…
[Jobs’ and Ive’s] fast friendship and collaboration contrasted with the evolution of Mr. Jobs’s relationship with Mr. Cook. It took a push from colleagues who feared Hewlett-Packard might poach Mr. Cook for Mr. Jobs to promote to him to chief operations officer in 2005, according to people familiar with the promotion. Mr. Jobs’s decision to later tap Mr. Cook as his successor was motivated in part by the recognition that half of the company’s value came from Mr. Cook’s ability to manufacture and deliver its devices on time. Those skills would be critical to taking the iPhone from sales of 10 million units a year to 200 million.
Even so, Mr. Jobs considered Mr. Ive the company’s second-most powerful executive. He thrust the design team to the forefront of Apple’s product development process, ensuring it played a central role in the iPod, iPhone and iPad…
Mr. Cook seldom visited [Ive’s design] studio… On one of the few occasions he did, it was to see a Leica camera Mr. Ive had helped design for a charity auction. Mr. Ive glowed as he detailed the designers’ work on the camera for Mr. Cook, who nodded expressionlessly. People watching across the studio would later joke that they caught Mr. Cook’s eyes straying from the charity camera to the nearby design tables topped with iPhones, iPads and Macs that the company sold for tremendous profit. He stayed only a few minutes.
MacDailyNews Note: Mickle’s book, After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul is available for pre-order ahead of its May 3, 2022 release via Amazon in various formats here.
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