"The man who helped give the world candy-colored computers walked out the door as Tim Cook took charge." — Tripp Mickle
From Mickle's "How Technocrats Triumphed at Apple" in Sunday's New York Times:
After two years of development, thousands of engineering hours and countless days agonizing over the suppleness of leather and strength of gold for Apple’s bold new product, the company’s design chief, Jony Ive, was thrust into a high-stakes debate over the most primitive concern: a tent.
The Apple Watch was slated to be introduced at a local community college auditorium near the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. To bring cosmopolitan gloss to a suburban landscape of strip malls, Mr. Ive recommended removing two dozen trees and erecting a lavish white tent.
His extravagant vision wasn’t going over well.
“They want $25 million,” a colleague said of the event’s price tag...
Mr. Cook rocked in his chair as the group discussed Mr. Ive’s idea. 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. The designer’s value to the company was so great that Mr. Cook feared that investors would sell shares if Mr. Ive left. Former company executives estimated that an Ive departure would erase more than $50 billion from Apple’s market value, or as much as 10 percent. Mr. Cook stopped rocking. “We should just do it,” he said.
To many present, Mr. Cook’s approval seemed like a win for Mr. Ive. But the designer would later recast it as a Pyrrhic victory. He would tell colleagues that the debate over the event and the larger struggle over the watch’s marketing were among the first moments that he felt unsupported at Apple...
In Mr. Ive’s absence, the designers say that they collaborate more with colleagues in engineering and operations and face more cost pressures than they did previously. Meanwhile, the products remain largely as they were when Mr. Ive left. The gods have become mortals.
My take: Excerpted from Mickle's “After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul,” (pubdate: May 3). I'm waiting for the Audible edition.