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Sony lures Apple exec to lead software development

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Tim Schaaff has left Apple Computer for Sony Corporation, where he has been appointed to the newly-created position of Senior Vice President of Software Development, effective immediately.

At Apple, Schaaff held various positions including Vice President of Interactive Media. His many contributions at the Mac and iPod maker included managing the development and maintenance of Apple's QuickTime platform.

Prior to working at Apple, Schaaff worked on the development of the Synclavier music synthesizer at New England Digital. At Sony, his goal will be to unify previously dispersed functions into a single organization that provides important platform support for all of the company.

Schaaff will report to Keiji Kimura, Executive Vice President and Officer in Charge of Technology Strategy.

"Having a consistent and scaleable software platform for our devices and services is important in today's world," said Kimura.

"Software is obviously a critical element in creating champion Sony products, and in increasing the value of Sony devices and services by ensuring interoperability," said Sony chairman and cheif executive Sir Howard Stringer. "Tim's expertise is a vital addition to the Sony team, and he will be responsible for developing and deploying a unified, intuitive Sony 'look and feel' to user interfaces and functionality across our entire product line."

Schaaff will be based in San Jose and will have global responsibility for a newly created team that will include technologists and business planners who will work with Sony's business units, design centers, product planning and engineering, as well as corporate centers for standards, intellectual property, licensing and business development.
post #2 of 29
I'm sorry to see this guy go. He's done a lot of good things at Apple.
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I'm sorry to see this guy go. He's done a lot of good things at Apple.

Not being an insider myself, what has Schaaff's contribution at Apple REALLY been? Anyone know the story behind the story...without giving yourself away?

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post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Not being an insider myself, what has Schaaff's contribution at Apple REALLY been? Anyone know the story behind the story...without giving yourself away?

He's considered to be a charismatic leader. He's also a great organizer and project leader. My friends at Apple say that Sony surprised everyone there by getting him.
post #5 of 29
Hopfully he can help foster good will and cooperation between Apple and Sony with respect to home media.
post #6 of 29
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Originally posted by AppleInsider

"Software is obviously a critical element in creating champion Sony products"

What a Japanese thing to say...
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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by ecking
What a Japanese thing to say...

Wonder how this one got under Steve Job's radar? Sony stealth technology, no doubt.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by TenoBell
Hopfully he can help foster good will and cooperation between Apple and Sony with respect to home media.


This is sure to get under Steve's skin, since not too long ago, he appeared onstage with the president of Sony talking up Sony's video cameras, now Sony poaches some of Apple's top talent.

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post #9 of 29
Quote:
This is sure to get under Steve's skin

Especially if Tim Schaaff designs software that works as elegantly and competes directly with Apple's software.

But I want to view it positively. An Apple/Sony collabertion can make money for all parties involved.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
He's considered to be a charismatic leader. He's also a great organizer and project leader. My friends at Apple say that Sony surprised everyone there by getting him.

Big freakin' deal.

This type of "organizer" isn't what sets Apple apart. The staff of talented Engineers are highly organized and focused.

This type of person makes Steve's work less tedious when he doesn't have to coddle everyone, but that is where it ends.

Does the guy contribute to the technologies at Apple: NO.
post #11 of 29
Well the problem is it is fairly well known what Sony really lacks right now isn't talented engineers but decent management. There is way too little communication between project groups so they have basically just taken a manager from a company that is renowned for their highly integrated teamwork. Apple holds a lot of meetings for people to work together in order to get the software and hardware teams working to the same goals.

Big win for Sony. Shame they increasingly have very little of note to offer a competitive market though for the prices they charge.
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post #12 of 29
If this guy was in charge of Quicktime I'm not very impressed. Also look at the software at Apple...it no longer is nicely integrated or even follows the same design concepts. They've been slacking lately at making quality software and have been making "oh it does this too!" software. Specifically my peeve is iTunes acting like a catch all.
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post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by ast3r3x
If this guy was in charge of Quicktime I'm not very impressed. Also look at the software at Apple...it no longer is nicely integrated or even follows the same design concepts. They've been slacking lately at making quality software and have been making "oh it does this too!" software. Specifically my peeve is iTunes acting like a catch all.

Maybe that's a reason he left? Apple seems to have abandoned their consistent look and feel, and their own human interface guidelines. Was this guy one of those responsible, or did he get fed up and leave?

Quote:
mdriftmeyer
This type of "organizer" isn't what sets Apple apart. The staff of talented Engineers are highly organized and focused.

Do I detect a hint of bitterness? I'm all for mocking PHBs, but good management helps talented engineers BE organized and focused. A bunch of Indians with no Chief is not the way to get things done.

It will be very interesting to see if this fosters more cooperation between Apple and Sony, or sours their relationship. This really does seem like the sort of thing that could set The Steve off; and have him send Apple on a course of "getting back" at Sony somehow.

- Jasen.
post #14 of 29
It'll never work. You expect one senior vice president to get the ball rolling throughout the entire Sony corporation? Give me a break. Sure, he's worked on an integrated team, but Sony engineers have far since abandoned the passionate mindset and now simply float on the leverage of their past accomplishments. They'll eat this guy for lunch. Sorry to see him go, he'll wish he hadn't in about 2 months.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by jasenj1
Maybe that's a reason he left? Apple seems to have abandoned their consistent look and feel, and their own human interface guidelines. Was this guy one of those responsible, or did he get fed up and leave?

Good point, I hadn't really considered that. If he is in charge he should have the last say though, but maybe Jobs is more interested in staying ahead than doing the right thing.
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post #16 of 29
Maybe we're all missing the back story. MAYBE, this is the 1st steps toward some sort of PS3/Mac Mini/Home Media integration. Maybe they're sending this guy over there so he can get all the PS3 folks at Sony on the same page with the Home Media/Mac Mini folks at Apple....
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
Big freakin' deal.

This type of "organizer" isn't what sets Apple apart. The staff of talented Engineers are highly organized and focused.

This type of person makes Steve's work less tedious when he doesn't have to coddle everyone, but that is where it ends.

Does the guy contribute to the technologies at Apple: NO.

You know little about the way companies work. Jobs can't write code to save his life. His talent is to get those who can to do what they do best.

Top managers can get people to believe that what they are doing is important enough for them to throw themselves into it.

Companies rise of fall dependent upon the quality of management.

The truth is that it's easy to find talented engineers of any kind. The difficult part is to recognize which ones are, and which ones aren't.

No one blames the employees when a company fails. It's the managers. And no one should give the employees the credit for a companies success either. It's also the managers.

I know that sounds harsh, but it's true.

Look at Apple over the years, and you can see it for yourself. When leaders made mistakes, the company suffered. When they made good decisions, the company prospered. That's they way it is.

With my own companies, when I, or my partners made mistakes, the company and employees (us as well) paid for it. When we did the right thing , everyone prospered.

I hired my employees. I was responsible for the quality of work they did. Not them. If some did poor work, it was because I hired the wrong people, or didn't inspire them to care more.

That's the way it works.

If I didn't make the decision to go digital 18 years ago, the company would have gone under. would my people have been responsible for that? No.

I had some great and talented people working in both of my companies, people who came up with some good ideas.

But, ultimately, it's the managers who are responsible for how a company does, not the employees. And when a company loses a good one, there is a big hole to fill.
post #18 of 29
Hmmm.... sh*t, I agree.
post #19 of 29
Good

Hopefully Schaaf can help Sony get their act together softwarewise. New opportunities are always exciting. Let's see what young Talent Apple has to fill the void.
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post #20 of 29
i have a strong dislike for sony,


specially its managment.
post #21 of 29
I can't say that hiring one person or losing one person will necessarily change things. Sony's corporate system seems pretty sloppy in some ways, overly restrictive in others, and they really don't seem to give a damn about their customers. It took them too long to realize that nobody wanted their auto-DRM garbage, and that nobody wanted to re-encode their entire non-DRM music library into a new format, DRMed at that just to use a new portable audio player. In light of that, Apple's move to require transcoding of video for their portable video player was pretty bone-headed, it should have been made more compatible with more formats, at least there isn't any DRM required.

The Sony rootkit showed how little they cared for anything but PR and spin, their customers and their computers can just shove it. They didn't appreciate the claims that it was a rootkit, despite being the very definition of said malware.

I've never used Sony software, and frankly, I'd rather not risk it.

I do have several bits of Sony consumer electronics, but not because of the name. At the time of purchace, any given piece of hardware happened to be the best of its kind that I could afford.

I would never buy Sony computers though I do know one person that likes his VAIO laptop. He's not that demanding and hasn't updated the unit from its original OS, one complaint of Sony is that sometimes they don't bother to release drivers for operating systems released after the computer was discontinued, a computer over a year or so old might be considered abandoned by them.
post #22 of 29
So Sony has a new face leading the way in rootkit and virus development and deployment? Will he add the great features of many recent Sony CDs to the entire software line?

Cant wait for Vegas 7 (use Vegas 6 at work), with a "special surprise" installed free of charge and unbenounced to customers...

And dont even get me started on Sony hardware of late...
Remember the good ole days when the sony name ment the product would be of very high quality, and not just another peice of shit rushed out the door?
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I can't say that hiring one person or losing one person will necessarily change things. Sony's corporate system seems pretty sloppy in some ways, overly restrictive in others, and they really don't seem to give a damn about their customers. It took them too long to realize that nobody wanted their auto-DRM garbage, and that nobody wanted to re-encode their entire non-DRM music library into a new format, DRMed at that just to use a new portable audio player. In light of that, Apple's move to require transcoding of video for their portable video player was pretty bone-headed, it should have been made more compatible with more formats, at least there isn't any DRM required.

The Sony rootkit showed how little they cared for anything but PR and spin, their customers and their computers can just shove it. They didn't appreciate the claims that it was a rootkit, despite being the very definition of said malware.

I've never used Sony software, and frankly, I'd rather not risk it.

I do have several bits of Sony consumer electronics, but not because of the name. At the time of purchace, any given piece of hardware happened to be the best of its kind that I could afford.

I would never buy Sony computers though I do know one person that likes his VAIO laptop. He's not that demanding and hasn't updated the unit from its original OS, one complaint of Sony is that sometimes they don't bother to release drivers for operating systems released after the computer was discontinued, a computer over a year or so old might be considered abandoned by them.

One person in the right position can make a difference. If there was one person at Sony who thought that the rootkit was a bad idea, and they had the pull, or respect, to be listened to, then the whole thing would not have happened.

But you need strong leaders who aren't afraid to speak out.

Japanese corporations have not worked that way. They work by consensus. Once Sony's original founders left, the company became rudderless. I can't imagine Akaido (I'm not sure if that is spelled right). agreeing to that. It isn't known if Stringer even knew about it.

So one good person at the nexus could have stopped it.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
...I can't imagine Akaido (I'm not sure if that is spelled right). agreeing to that. It isn't known if Stringer even knew about it.

So one good person at the nexus could have stopped it.

I think you mean Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony.

I very much doubt Stringer knew about it.
Sony Global is a huge corporation with many separate divisions - Electronics, Games, Music, Movies and Financial Services. Within those divisions are many more divisions.
This company is so large and it's corporate structure so complex that many of the sub-divisions that should be complimentary to each other are completely out of touch with each other.
Stringer is actively trying to get a handle on this by soliciting employee feedback on how to make Sony more streamlined and efficient.

Hopefully, Stringer is that guy who can make a difference.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
One person in the right position can make a difference. If there was one person at Sony who thought that the rootkit was a bad idea, and they had the pull, or respect, to be listened to, then the whole thing would not have happened.

But you need strong leaders who aren't afraid to speak out.

So one good person at the nexus could have stopped it.

My main question is whether Schaaf is struly in a position to influence such policies. Being in the software division, he might not have any say as to what the music division does, with Sony being a large conglomerate and all.
post #26 of 29
Therein lies the heart of Sony's failure right now. One division has no control over the others or too much influence over the others. For instance Sony failed badly with modern music players because their music arm was afraid of piracy so they delayed products for a year to sort out DRM. By that time Apple had the market.

These days it is the failure of the electronics teams to work with software. No communication or integration is just a recipe for disaster.
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Cake
I think you mean Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony.

I very much doubt Stringer knew about it.
Sony Global is a huge corporation with many separate divisions - Electronics, Games, Music, Movies and Financial Services. Within those divisions are many more divisions.
This company is so large and it's corporate structure so complex that many of the sub-divisions that should be complimentary to each other are completely out of touch with each other.
Stringer is actively trying to get a handle on this by soliciting employee feedback on how to make Sony more streamlined and efficient.

Hopefully, Stringer is that guy who can make a difference.

Yeah, I can never remember how to spell these names.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
My main question is whether Schaaf is struly in a position to influence such policies. Being in the software division, he might not have any say as to what the music division does, with Sony being a large conglomerate and all.

We don't know what the chain of command is there.

I can say one thing however. when a company persues someone, they give them outsize influence. The mere fact that they went after this guy means that they will value what he says. If he speaks up at a meeting of divisions when something is mentioned that he doesn't approve of, or does, he will be listened to.
post #29 of 29
About time we had a Mac version of rootkit.

/never buying a Sony product until I can do so without feeling dirty
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