'Apple is Not in Trouble Because Jony Ive is Leaving, It Is in Trouble Because He's Not Being Replaced'
Friday June 28, 2019. 06:00 PM , from Slashdot/Apple
Apple's chief design officer announced on Thursday that he is leaving the company after nearly 30 years at the firm. John Gruber of DaringFireball making sense of things and what it means for the company: I've never been an 'Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs' person. But part of what made Apple the Apple we know in the post-1997 era is that when Jobs was at the helm, all design decisions were going through someone with great taste. Not perfect taste, but great taste. But the other part of what made Jobs such a great leader is that he could recognize bad decisions, sooner rather than later, and get them fixed.
I think Tim Cook is a great CEO and Jeff Williams is a great COO. But who's in charge of product design now? There is no new chief design officer, which, really, is what Steve Jobs always was. From a product standpoint, the post-Jobs era at Apple has been the Jony Ive era, not the Tim Cook era. That's not a knock on Tim Cook. To his credit, Tim Cook has never pretended to be a product guy, which is exactly the hubris that John Sculley succumbed to back in the early '90s, leading to the Newton being launched far before it was ready and the Macintosh platform languishing.
It makes me queasy to see that Apple's chief designers are now reporting to operations. This makes no more sense to me than having them report to the LLVM compiler team in the Xcode group. Again, nothing against Jeff Williams, nothing against the LLVM team, but someone needs to be in charge of design for Apple to be Apple and I can't see how that comes from operations. I don't think that 'chief design officer' should have been a one-off title created just for Jony Ive. Not just for Apple, but especially at Apple, it should be a permanent C-level title. I don't think Ive ever should have been put in control of software design, but at least he is a designer. I don't worry that Apple is in trouble because Jony Ive is leaving; I worry that Apple is in trouble because he's not being replaced.
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