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Former iPod chief severs remaining ties with Apple

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Tony Fadell, known to insiders as the grandfather of the iPod and a former senior vice president of Apple, has formally ended his nine-year tenure with the company.

According to The New York Times, Fadell completed his gradual exit from Apple on Monday, relinquishing his role as a special adviser to company co-founder Steve Jobs. Fadell reportedly said he will advise company and pursue private investments with a focus on green technology.

"I'm determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones," Fadell told author Brad Stone.

In 2008, Fadell stepped down as senior vice president of Apple's iPod division. However, he remained on the company's payroll in his position as an advisor to Jobs.

Fadell joined Apple as the first member of its iPod hardware engineering team in 2001 and was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004. He became senior vice president of the iPod division in April 2006, taking the position formerly held by his ex-boss, Jon Rubinstein, who now serves as CEO of competitor Palm.

In the '90s, Fadell created a company called Fuse, which aimed to produce a new array of consumer electronics devices for the masses, including a hard disk-based digital music player. When Fuse ran out of funding, Fadell joined RealNetworks in 2000, but clashed with the company's chief executive and left after just six weeks.

Fadell then joined Apple, where he presided over the iPod boom and was also instrumental in the development of the first iPhone. He also oversaw smaller products during his tenure at the company, including the iSight.

Fadell has been credited with numerous patent applications issued by Apple. Most recently, his name was included on inventions for an iPhone audio text message and walkie-talkie feature, as well as a touchscreen proximity sensor.
post #2 of 18
We all knew he was gone already I thought. Oh well - Bye Tony!
post #3 of 18
I wish him well.

(Which is to say: I hope he doesn't end up at Palm...)
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post #4 of 18
Wow. iPod and iPhone. That's quite a lifetime achievement for anyone. A loss for Apple.

I wonder what the real reason for his leaving was.
post #5 of 18
Sad to see Apple's gifted underlings leave but not worried as long as Apple has Steve.
post #6 of 18
Take a look at Apple's history recently and you'll see that a lot of things that was a huge success was brought into the company and not created inside of it.

For instance:

1: The iPod, brought in by Tony Fadell

2: iTunes Visuals, company bought by Apple

3: Coverflow, company bought by Apple


In the case of the abortion called the Mighty Mouse, Apple would have been better off buying Logictech.
post #7 of 18
Sounds like he wanted to make a different kind of impact for the sake of leaving his kids something better than the condition of the globe is now. I respect him for that. I'm sure he has quite a nice chunk of change from his years at Apple. I wish him the best.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkoolaid View Post

Sad to see Apple's gifted underlings leave but not worried as long as Apple has Steve.


Actually everything seems to indicate that Jobs is building the kind of corporate culture and infrastructure to continue on past his expiration date - which figures well against his desire to establish his own legacy and impact on computing via Apple.

As for Mr. Fadell, as technologies and frameworks mature, it only makes sense to move on to other projects and challenges. Given his legacy, he can easily do this and walk away knowing that he was instrumental in building the strong successes that Apple has seen in the past decade. But Apple has matured the whole iPod/iTunes framework, and there is not much room to expand beyond what they have accomplished. So while his participation will be lost, the framework will continue to add value to Apple for the foreseeable future. As these things go, I expect he and Jobs will continue to get-together or have casual shop-talk sessions in the future.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkoolaid View Post

Sad to see Apple's gifted underlings leave but not worried as long as Apple has Steve.

Meh - as others pointed out, the iPod and iPhone are mature products. While you never like to see good employees go, his exit is definitely not at a critical time in either products life cycle.

What would be critical is if the next "Tony Fadell" were to leave early in the process of whatever the next thing is cooking in the Apple labs. That is an angst-worthy event.

As far as Mr. Fadell goes, 5 years is a long time to work on any one project and he did it back to back. He deserves the opportunity to move on and so something different if he should so desire.
post #10 of 18
@SpotOn: Forgot to mention Dashboard, which Apple STOLE from Konfabulator.
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"-but Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no. I never doubted myself for a minute for I knew that my monkey strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the...
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post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by superkaratemonkeydeathcar View Post

@SpotOn: Forgot to mention Dashboard, which Apple STOLE from Konfabulator.

I don't think you could call Dashboard a theft - KON worked for Apple at the time of development. He did it on outside time but as he was an Engineer for Apple at the time the IP would have been Apple's if they insisted. (They did in fact have some talks.) Apple was not interested in the x-platform approach or some of the more geeky things Konstantine supported (sorry to his partner in this - his name escapes me). They were actually in development during the same time period and I can't remember which came first publicly (although I think it was Konfabulator and then Dashboard was shown at WWDC).
post #12 of 18
Sounds like he is using the fortune he earned to pursue some technology interests that don't directly relate to Apple. Thats not a bad thing. Apple has very talented people working for them. Occasionally they leave Apple to pursue some new great thing with the money they earned. It doesn't sound like he is leaving on bad terms. I think he feels like he can contribute more outside of Apple's niche. I wish him luck in whatever new venture he is pursuing.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Wow. iPod and iPhone. That's quite a lifetime achievement for anyone. A loss for Apple.

I wonder what the real reason for his leaving was.

It's easy to see. With the iPhone, iPad and AppleTV, and iPod, Apple is not likely to come out with any new groundbreaking hardware devices for some time to come. So in the sense, Apple will be focusing on the products I mentioned above. With a visionary like Tony, he's bored and wants to be at a company that is able to focus on new and exciting devices, hence the quote "I'm determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones."
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I wish him well.

(Which is to say: I hope he doesn't end up at Palm...)

Why? WHY would you not want something like that? He would only help Palm make better products, which would compete directly with Apple a bit more, which would drive Apple to make even better products to stay on top.

It's astounding how so few people understand how basic competition like that can lead to better products for THEM.

Unless I read you wrong and you mean you don't want him to go down with a sinking ship LOL
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Why? WHY would you not want something like that? He would only help Palm make better products, which would compete directly with Apple a bit more, which would drive Apple to make even better products to stay on top.

It's astounding how so few people understand how basic competition like that can lead to better products for THEM.

Unless I read you wrong and you mean you don't want him to go down with a sinking ship LOL

I think "not ending up with Palm" should mean that Palm is doomed and would not provide good career opportunity for this guy, even if his old mate Jon is CEO over there.

Unless Palm gets some good money, ending up with Samsung, Creative, LG, Microsoft, HTC (ahem) might be better solution...
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


I wonder what the real reason for his leaving was.

I have to agree with sflocal....Given this quote from the article....

"I'm determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones," Fadell told author Brad Stone.

Sounds to me like he's one heck of a techie and wants to work on other inspiring projects. Leaving him on the AAPL payroll as "advisor" was most likely a very nice "thank you" for all the irreplaceable work & etc.

Given his ownership of many patents, tons of AAPL stock, and etc., I'm sure he's set for life....And then some.

Ex
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post


Unless I read you wrong and you mean you don't want him to go down with a sinking ship LOL

Hey, you got it in the end. Nothing againt honest competition.
It was an attempt at wishing him the best while also humorously lamenting the fate of some former Apple brass...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
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Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
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post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Take a look at Apple's history recently and you'll see that a lot of things that was a huge success was brought into the company and not created inside of it.

For instance:

1: The iPod, brought in by Tony Fadell

2: iTunes Visuals, company bought by Apple

3: Coverflow, company bought by Apple


In the case of the abortion called the Mighty Mouse, Apple would have been better off buying Logictech.

K, actually Jon Rubinstein was in charge of the iPod team at Apple and hired Tony Fadell on as part of the engineering team. That team designed the iPod in-house.

Apple has made 22 acquisitions in 30+ years, the least out of any of the largest companies in the world, and definitely the least out of all major tech companies. By comparison, Google has made over 100 acquisitions in 1/3rd the time, including Android.
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