Jony Ive has been an integral part of Apple for decades. He and Steve Jobs are credited with bringing out some of the best devices that the world has ever seen. So it did come as a bit of a surprise when it was officially announced last week that Ive was leaving Apple. Subsequent reports have suggested that Ive’s departure may have been set in motion long before the announcement was made.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ive was “dispirited” by the lack of interest in design of Apple CEO Tim Cook. With Apple’s focus shifting from design to operations a few years ago, Ive may not have had the same close synergy with Cook that he shared with Steve Jobs.
The report adds that consequently, Ive starting coming into Apple’s offices less often compared to a few years ago and this let to strain on the “cohesion central to product development.” He apparently further limited his time at Apple’s offices after the Apple Watch was released. Ive wanted it to be positioned as a fashion accessory and not an iPhone peripheral.
He clashed with Apple executives on how it should be brought to market and it didn’t work out well for the company. The $349 standard Apple Watch only sold 10 million units which was a quarter of what was forecast while the $17,000 gold version racked up “thousands” of unsold units. Not only was Ive disappointed that Cook “showed little interest in the product development process,” but that the company’s board was increasingly being staffed with directors who had no experience in the company’s business.
His association with Apple isn’t going to end, though. Ive has set up LoveFrom, his own design firm, which will reportedly be paid “millions of dollars a year” to continue to work with Apple.