Phil Schiller, who ran Apple’s worldwide marketing for 30+ years, steps down

He wasn’t the clown he played at Apple keynotes, abusing the word “incredible” and playing Sancho Panza to Steve Jobs’ Don Quixote.

From Apple PR’s “Phil Schiller advances to Apple Fellow” posted Tuesday:

Apple today announced that Phil Schiller will become an Apple Fellow, continuing a storied career that began at Apple in 1987. In this role, which reports to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Schiller will continue to lead the App Store and Apple Events. Greg (Joz) Joswiak, a longtime leader within the Product Marketing organization, will join the executive team as senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

My take: The thing I remember about Schiller is the possibly apocry-Phil story about how he solved the problem of navigating 1,000s of songs in the original iPod by coming up with the click wheel.

UPDATE from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, for whom Schiller played Deep Throat to Gruber’s Bob Woodward:

Schiller hasn’t just been at Apple a long time — he’s held the position atop product marketing for, well, as long as I can remember. Product development, advertising, packaging, messaging, comms, keynotes — you name it, if it was public-facing, Schiller has been in the middle of it.

Best way I can put it is that Schiller is the most Apple-y of all Apple executives.


  1. Dave Ryder said:
    This is certainly worth a reaction. Phil has been at Apple’s core for such a long time and he’s highly respected and liked. Fortunately, so is Joz. So I don’t think Apple will miss a beat.

    August 4, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Well earned promotion.

    The click wheel alone earns him a spot in history. The iPod took Apple to the masses at a time when Apple, trading below $2 a share, had a small following of enthusiasts.

    Imagine all the highs and lows he’s been through.

    August 4, 2020
  3. Phil Service said:
    Just for the record: it was Sancho Panza.

    August 4, 2020
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    I wished they had given Phil S an honorary emeritus status with his Fellow status. It pleases me immensely that he has a continued role with Apple, a partnership providing guidance & consultation. He will be around, it seems. When these guys & gals leave it is as if a part of me leaves too, a little sentimentality. I wished in some measure Jony Ive had done similarly, but that was not to be.

    Oh the controversy! Who deserves the most credit for the iPod? Least we forget the role of Rubinstein & Fadell? Little doubt the idea that we not mention their names leaves their faces with a rubicund complexion. Rubinstein comes up with the 1.8 inch drive of 5G storage through Toshiba engineers. Fadell comes up with multiple ideas for creating better digital music players & it lended itself to the iPod. These 2 men argue it was “he” who fathered the iPod. Schiller avoided the stew, but resolved the major problem in coming up with the “trackwheel” idea. Yet, Steve Jobs mastered & drove the whole project successfully by redefining project problems & coming up with new approaches for resolving them when the others rack their brains confronting a dead-end. And it was Steve who came up with that most Zen of all simplicities of no “on/off” switch. Everything on that whole effort was a clarity of product vision that propelled Apple’s future & its whole history of making both the hardware & the software with the result that the two worked seamlessly together!

    August 4, 2020
  5. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    The exiting (or involvement reduction) of long-time Apple stalwarts such as Schiller causes one to wonder if that “North Star” spirit guidance Tim Cook so often refers to might lose a bit of its glow with every exit click.

    Godspeed, farewell and adieu Mr. Schiller. You certainly did your part to make that star shine brightly.

    If anyone remaining has a finger on the pulse of this animal and its Stars, my money’s with Mr. Cook.

    Geaux .

    August 4, 2020

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