Apple CEO Fires Back at Reports Stating Jony Ive’s Departure Was ‘Years in the Making’

Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President Of Design At Apple, Smiles During The Opening Of The Next Generation Apple Store In San Francisco, California Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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After Apple announced that Jony Ive was leaving the company, a handful of reports suggested that his departure was years in the making. This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook is firing back.

In a scathing email to NBC News, Cook addressed one such story in The Wall Street Journal — calling the story “absurd” and that its contents “don’t match with reality.”

Jony Ive’s Departure

The Wall Street Journal piece, which was published yesterday, basically detailed Ive’s last few years at Apple according to sources close to the company’s design team and leadership.

Overall, the WSJ claimed that Ive was unhappy with how Apple was becoming less design-oriented and most operations-focused over the past few years.

That discontentment apparently peaked with the Apple Watch. Apple leadership was apparently hesitant to approve the device. When it was actually okayed, Ive reportedly “threw himself” into the device’s development.

Ive wanted the Apple Watch to be a fashion accessory, while other Apple leaders thought the device should simply be an extension of the iPhone. Eventually, a compromise was reached — which is apparently why there was both a $349 Sport model and a $17,000 Edition model.

But working on the Apple Watch reportedly took its toll on Ive. After the device debuted, multiple media outlets (including the WSJ) noted that he took a step back from day-to-day design operations at Apple.

That fact has been corroborated by other media outlets, including Bloomberg. And Ive even told The New Yorker back in 2015 that the Apple Watch was “the most difficult” project he had at the Cupertino tech giant.

Tim Cook’s Response

Some people were not happy with the WSJ’s conclusion in the matter. One of those people is Apple CEO Tim Cook.

In his letter to NBC, Cook simply stated that “the story is absurd. A lot of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions just don’t match with reality.”

“At a base level, it shows a lack of understanding about how the design team works and how Apple works,” Cook continued. “It distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don’t recognize the company it claims to describe.”

Cook goes on to call the design team “phenomenally talented” and “stronger than ever.” The Apple CEO added that he has “complete confidence” that they will thrive going forward.

“The projects they’re working on will blow you away,” Cook concluded.

What Happens to Ive and Apple?

While Ive is officially leaving Apple to start his own design firm, he isn’t actually going very far.

According to Apple’s press release, the industrial designer will continue to work on projects with Apple going forward. In fact, Apple will specifically be LoveFrom’s first client.

In a statement, Cook said he looks forward to working with Ive “long into the future.”

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