Three years after Apple and Jony Ive, the company’s former head of design and a close friend of Steve Jobs, promised to work together “for a long time to come,” it appears that the deal between the parties is off.
When Jony Ive left the company in 2019, Tim Cook, its chief executive, assured customers that Mr. Ive, the man who gave the world candy-colored computers, would work exclusively with Apple for years to come.
However, according to The New York Times Mr. Ive and Apple have agreed to end their collaboration, according to two people with knowledge of their contractual agreement, ending a three-decade period in which the designer helped define every rounded corner of the iPhone and in recent years served as the company’s chief executive. development of a single new product category – Apple Watch.
When Mr. Ive left Apple in 2019 to start his own design firm, LoveFrom, the iPhone maker signed him to a multi-year contract worth more than $100 million. That made Apple his firm’s primary client, people familiar with the deal said.
The deal restricted Mr. Ive from working for Apple’s competitors and ensured that the designer would be involved in the development of future products, such as an augmented reality headset expected to be released next year.
In recent weeks, during negotiations on the extension of the contract, the parties agreed not to renew it. Some Apple executives had questions about the amount of Ive’s deal, and were disappointed after several Apple designers left to join LoveFrom. In turn, Ive wanted the freedom to choose customers without Apple’s permission.
Before he left Apple in June 2019, Mr. Ive became frustrated as Tim Cook forced the increasingly large company to focus more on operations than on big design leaps, according to more than a dozen people who worked closely with Mr. Ive. The designer went part-time as Mr. Cook focused on selling software and services.
In July 2019, Tim Cook called news coverage of Mr Ive’s disillusionment with Apple “absurd” and said it “distorted relationships, decisions and events”.
Mr. Cook’s strategy has been endorsed by investors, who have added $1.5 trillion to Apple’s market valuation in just two years, even as some analysts chided it for a pause in releasing revolutionary devices.