Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a report describing the years and events leading up to design chief Jony Ive’s recently announced departure. Among other things, it claimed Ive had become increasingly disengaged from the company and its design teams after Steve Jobs’ death, in part because of his frustration with a new, emerging Apple leadership that focused more on operations than design.
In the wake of that report, Apple CEO Tim Cook—who had allegedly frustrated Ive with his lack of interest in product design, the story’s sources claimed—emailed NBC News and MSNBC Senior Media Reporter Dylan Byers calling the story “absurd.” Cook said its “conclusions just don’t match with reality” and claimed that it “distorts” the events described. Byers then claimed on Twitter that a Wall Street Journal spokesperson told him “the paper stands by its report.”
The story “is based on conversations over more than a year with people who worked with Mr. Ive, as well as people close to Apple’s leadership,” the Journal says. It claims that Ive clashed with other members of the company’s leadership over the positioning of the Apple Watch, which he saw as a fashion-focused product. Meanwhile, unnamed leaders saw it as an extension of the iPhone, and they came to feel that the company had lost its focused on design as key senior roles were stacked with operations and business-focused personnel.