Jony Ive Left Apple After Feeling ‘Dispirited’ by CEO Tim Cook

Posted on July 1, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple with 28 Comments

At the end of last month, Apple’s iconic designer Jony Ive announced his departure from the company, bringing an end to his journey of 27 years at the company. The move was a shock to almost everyone, as Ive has been involved in many of Apple’s popular products for years.

Following the announcement, there have been multiple reports of Ive slowly moving away from his job at Cupertino. Bloomberg reported last week that Ive was cutting down on his responsibilities as early as 2015, coming into the Apple HQ as little as twice a week. And now, a new report from WSJ is shedding some light on the reason behind Ive’s departure.

According to the WSJ, Ive was apparently “dispirited” by CEO Tim Cook. Sources told the publication that Cook showed “little interest in the product development” process, frustrating Ive. Cook was more focused on the operations side of things, and showed little interest in the design process of products. Ive even had different plans for the Apple Watch, and he wanted to position it as a fashion accessory rather than an accessory for the iPhone. That lead to him clashing with Apple executives, and he was increasingly frustrated with the Apple board being filled with directions with no background in Apple’s business or culture.

WSJ also noted that the Apple design team “craved” to be around him, but Ive slowly cutting down his responsibilities and showing up less was “disappointing” for Apple designers.

Apple will, obviously, continue to work with Ive through his new independent design firm LoveFrom. The company is reportedly going to be paying “millions of dollars” every year to work with Ive’s LoveFrom, and Ive will likely continue to play a huge role in Apple’s future products.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Jony Ive Left Apple After Feeling ‘Dispirited’ by CEO Tim Cook”

  1. daf42

    "The company is reportedly going to paying “millions of dollars” every year to work with Apple"


    What?

  2. lvthunder

    So we are reporting on speculation and gossip now. I guess I'm alone in not being surprised that Jony left to start his own business.

  3. blackcomb

    For Timmy, is all about making money. Not the tech.

  4. christianwilson

    The news of Jony Ive leaving was both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. It feels like it came out of nowhere but if you go back and look at what Ive has been doing over the past several years it is clear he has been looking to do more than make consumer electronics. I know Tim Cook has since denied this rumor and I'm inclined to believe him. Jony Ive is interested in more than what the Apple workspace can offer. Why shouldn't he take the opportunity to do something different. The guy seems too creative to iterate on iPhones year after year.

  5. Greg Green

    The old saying about family companies comes to mind; the first generation builds, the second generation maintains...


    Under Cook Apple is in maintenance mode.

  6. ids

    I suspect they had no choice. He was going and they needed to make sure another vendor wouldn't get their hands on fake Johnny. Hence them announcing the 'partnership' which I suspect is marketing BS.


    Let's see.. He's obviously a clever chap but I suspect its bored with tech. Perhaps he will go back to designing sanitary ware or a chair. Designers love a good chair

  7. Jhambi

    He will come back when Musk is CEO

  8. SYNERDATA

    I am constantly reminded of how Apple fell apart without Jobs by the 90's. Having not replaced his roll and instead just having Cook pretend to fill it while not doing so is not working. The brain drain continues, history repeats itself. Apple is over, again.

  9. MikeGalos

    So, really, he was, in the old IBM jargon, "Retired On The Job" for a few years now and finally made it official.

  10. John Craig

    So....he's not really leaving, just going freelance

  11. BrianEricFord

    In reply to locust infested orchard inc:


    I do think you’re right about what it’s supposed to say but 1) millions a year could be a pittance and 2) I bet it’s mostly untrue.

  12. locust infested orchard inc

    For Sir Jony Ive it was the two generations of notch that did it. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

  13. Mav Pen

    Quite sad- Like Apple or not it was Jobs/Ive focus on delivering the beautiful hardware with easy to use software that won mass market appeal. Jobs gave Ive more power than anyone else in Apple for a reason- so that the focus on delivering better products wasn’t overrun by the suits.


    Hopefully this isn’t a sign that Apple is about to start the descent to that track again.

  14. bob_shutts

    Cook is a great operations/supply side guy. *cough*

  15. oscar1

    I´ve said it before and i´ll gladely say it again; Tim Cook is Apples Steve Ballmer.

  16. dcdevito

    If I'm Google I give him anything he wants.

    • nicholas_kathrein

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Lets face it. He really doesn't want to do this work on phone slabs and computers. He really rather be the boss and work on things he wants to work on. Money isn't the issue. He's loaded and Apple would have paid him what ever he wanted but it's not about money. He grown tired of doing the same thing for the last 20 plus years. He's past that now and will move on. Yes Apple might pay his design firm to keep up appearances as that will keep the stock up but we know Jony Ive will not be doing work on any existing products.

  17. BrianEricFord

    All of this seems like an awful lot of ink to say that Ive was burnt out.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to BrianEricFord:

      That’s not how I read it at all. He was sidelined by the boss, patiently waited for change that didn’t come, so he left.

    • skane2600

      In reply to BrianEricFord:

      I have no idea if the reports are true but if they are, they don't really support the idea of being burnt out. I don't think starting a new company in which you are doing essentially the same sort of work you were doing before is what a burned out person would do particularly if money is not an issue. It sounds more like being dissatisfied with your current job and deciding to change it.

      • BrianEricFord

        In reply to skane2600:


        He’s not doing essentially the same thing at his new company unless you think his new company is going to be focused on designing computer products, answering to someone other than himself and a business partner.


        That’s not the impression I get about his new venture at all. I think he’s going to be designing niche products based on his whims where the primary consideration will be pushing the boundaries of industrial design and aesthetics (and perhaps his increasing interest in architecture). It’s basically the complete opposite of what he was tasked with at Apple.

        • skane2600

          In reply to BrianEricFord:

          We don't know yet what exactly he intends to do but a desire to not have to answer to your old boss is more a sign of dissatisfaction than burn out. And I don't believe that designing non-computer products (if in fact that's what he ends up doing) is substantially different than what he's been doing at Apple. It's all design.

    • toukale

      In reply to BrianEricFord:

      That's basically what I got out of it also, but a story line like this does not sell or create more advertising clicks. The man is rich beyond his wildest dream and wants to do other things, nothing wrong with that. Somehow folks can't accept that, there must be some drama to explain why he wants to leave. Show me a human habitat and I can did up drama, human interactions is by nature messy and dramatic, since we are so diverse in wants and needs.

  18. edlin

    You know, Tim's role is a critical component to the Apple Markets and their stock. Those markets have been created before him, and not by him. This idea of employee FAIRNESS so that 'everyone gets a chance'-- if that exists in Apple, as I imagine it does --destroys the product and the vision. Frankly, it is Tim Cook's fiduciary responsibility to run the company for the markets that bring in the money. Not for his personal emotional experiences transmogrified (projected) in to the business.


    He needs to offload R&D projects to another subsidiary and put Social Justice into a non-profit away from the core operations of the company. He wants equality in men and women in the business, but I feel he doesn't understand that some women actually DON'T find definition in life via working for 40 years, but in fact having kids and dropping out of the corporate scene.

    Yet, his commitment to forcing statistics HIS way for HIS opinion, and his bias is something that the Board needs to put in check. He did not create the business nor did he do anything to invent new things to help the business. He was selected to keep teh navigation on course and not taint the culture. Which he is doing...


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