A better take on why Jony Ive is leaving Apple

Matthew Panzarino’s version—posted on TechCrunch—rings a lot truer than Tripp Mickle‘s in the WSJ.

From Apple Sans Ive:

The argument that Jony derailed product at Apple looks like complete nonsense when you observe the facts. And every design team member I’ve spoken to over the last four years has said that Jony, while at times difficult, demanding and intense, has also been an enormous enabling force when it comes to spending the time, resources and energy it took them to get a product or feature to the level they wanted. Resources like on-the-ground materials consultation in China, collaborations with artists around the world, research into the effects of a design — the willingness to “do the most” in search of a solution. None of that went away.

That said, if Jony doesn’t like managing, guess what Jony is not going to be enthusiastic about? As Shel Silverstein put it: “If you have to dry the dishes, and you drop one on the floor, maybe they won’t make you dry dishes any more.”

My take: TechCrunch pointer thanks to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who “agrees with the whole thing, top to bottom.”


  1. Bruce Oran said:

    The notion that Jony Ive would purposefully do anything to hurt Apple sounds suspect. There is nothing reliable that I have read that that points to animosity between Apple and Ive. The idea that he wanted to leave Apple is not new. I recall reading many years ago, not long after Jobs died , that Ives was homesick and wanted to spend more time in Ireland and wanted to phase out slowly.

    July 10, 2019
  2. Fred Stein said:

    Another excellent perspective appears in the SF Chron, by an LA Times writer, https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/How-Jony-Ive-Apple-s-design-guru-planned-his-14080145.php

    The scandal mongers have no case. Jony Ive’s positive impact, direct or indirect, never faltered for decades. In fact the last few years prove just the opposite. Sir Jony has passed his design ethos to brilliant new people. Together they have produced Apple Park, Apple Watch, or AirPod – each one iconic and untouchable. The new Mac Pro may have far greater impact than most imagine.

    July 10, 2019
  3. Jerry W Doyle said:

    Ouch! Reminds me how Apple senior executives pushed back on the Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, the one and only “authorized” biography by the subject.

    In periods of disconsolation one always can discern a silver-lining, if one chooses to do so.

    The article is filled with oxymorons. Sir Jonathan Ive never checked out, but members of his design team resented the lack of intimate one-on-one time that Jony used to spend with the team when Apple shipped fewer products in more time.

    Jony never checked out, but “… I certainly have an ambition and feel almost a moral obligation to be useful.”

    Folk are making more of Jony Ive leaving Apple then what should be made of his desire to move on to doing new creative designing after laboring over two decades in a company where he no longer has a CEO with whom he had a personal friendship and with whom he shared a symbiotic creative design passion to breed and to spawn amazingly great products.

    Tim Cook is not a product guy. Tim Cook focuses on the bottom line and on maximizing profits while pushing quality products (and services) into consumer hands.

    Steve Jobs was a product guy with love and deep passion for industrial design. His first focus was to create amazingly great products to influence human behavior. Profits were important, but Jobs believe first in creating that great product and the profits would follow naturally. (A few times they didn’t.)

    Apple will do just fine without Jony Ive. Apple is a money making machine run by a competent CEO “bean-counter” at the helm.

    The fact that Tim Cook never felt the need to visit the ID unit speaks volumes. His failure to do so had to play heavy on Jony Ive, especially after the previous CEO bounced into the ID unit everyday filled with ebullience like-a-kid in a candy store, ushering everyone out of the room so Jony and he could mesmerize over all the designs laid out before their eyes and talk, and talk, and discuss, and discuss, and create.

    Jony did what any of us would do after Steve Jobs passing. In the absence of design passion no longer at the helm of the company and with that person running interference for the ID to pursue the unimaginable, Jony’s passion to remain as a creative designer genius at Apple dissolved.

    July 10, 2019
    • David Drinkwater said:

      In my opinion, calling Tim Cook a bean-counter significantly misses the point. Tim Cook is an Integrated Supply Chain guy. That’s very different. I work in ISC, and I genuinely don’t appreciate accountants. To me, they get in the way of progress and making improvements. I know businesses run on money and that without profits they don’t make sense. But I also know that it is often easy to know that something is “correct” or “right” without being able to stack up all the forward-going nickels, dimes, and dollars to justify the ROI. Tim Cook has clearly said that the ROI is not what makes him jump out of bed in the morning. If that be a bean counter, then I am a …

      No, Jerry, I think your characterization of Tim is incorrect.

      I will agree that Jony Ive lost a spiritual soul-mate at Apple when Steve Jobs died, but that is not a reflection on Tim Cook.

      July 11, 2019
  4. Gregg Thurman said:

    Before Jobs’ death (or was it after?) there was a lot of speculation about Ives becoming CEO. Jonny put that to rest himself saying he had no desire to be CEO, that he doing what he loved.

    When Jobs died Ives lost a co-worker, friend and design soul mate.

    With his new role as Chief Design Officer he probably got sucked into the daily management aspect much more than he wanted. Doing something you dislike will burn out anybody.

    I truly believe Ives stayed at Apple until he thought design could survive without him, allowing him to go back to his roots/primary love (and where he wanted to live).

    July 10, 2019

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