Sony lures Apple exec to lead software development

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    I'm sorry to see this guy go. He's done a lot of good things at Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 28
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Hopfully he can help foster good will and cooperation between Apple and Sony with respect to home media.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider



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





    What a Japanese thing to say...
  • Reply 6 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    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....
  • Reply 16 of 28
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,959member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    Hmmm.... sh*t, I agree.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    elixirelixir Posts: 782member
    i have a strong dislike for sony,





    specially its managment.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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.
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