A new quote from Steve Jobs reveals what the late Apple cofounder really thought of Tim Cook: 'Tim's not a product guy' (AAPL)


tim cook steve jobs

  • Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is leaving the company after nearly 30 years — a move that Apple-watchers interpret as the latest sign that Apple is moving away from the design-first era spearheaded by late cofounder Steve Jobs.
  • Ive is credited with leading the design of Apple’s biggest products alongside Jobs: the original iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch.
  • Current Apple CEO Tim Cook is most well-known for operations and management, and Ive replacement Jeff Williams is from the same world.
  • Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, revealed in a recent interview with CNBC that Jobs thought of Tim Cook as “not a product guy” — a detail that was softened for Isaacson’s 2011 book, “Steve Jobs.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs reportedly had a stinging critique of his replacement, current Apple CEO Tim Cook: “Tim’s not a product guy,” Jobs said.

The new quote was revealed by Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, during an interview on Monday with CNBC. Jobs told Isaacson as much during one of their interviews before Jobs died in 2011. 

Isaacson was speaking to the news that Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is leaving Apple, and what that could mean for the company going forward.

Tim Cook Jony Ive

“Every day when Jobs was in the office in Cupertino near the end, he would go at mid-day to that big locked door that went to the design studio, be brought in — everybody else would be ushered out — and he’d walk table to table with Jony [Ive],” Isaacson said. “They’d feel not just the phone, but the plug, the jack, the way the wire coiled — everything else. And Jobs at his core was a product person who loved Jony Ive.”

By comparison, current Apple CEO Tim Cook is an operations expert. His previous role at the company was as its COO, and he’s most well-known within the company for logistics rather than products.

“I think what you’re seeing now is a company that knows how to execute pretty well, but it doesn’t have at its core these two spiritual soul mates who just lived and breathed the beauty of products,” Isaacson said.

Read more: Jony Ive’s departure may be a sign that one of Tim Cook’s top lieutenants is becoming even more powerful

In contrast, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive collaborated on designing some of Apple’s most iconic products: the iPod, iPad, iPhone, and — most recently — the new Apple campus.

Isaacson said he left the quote out of his biography because he would occasionally “soften things” he perceived as “too harsh,” but that the quote was more relevant now that Ive is departing Apple.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

You can watch the full interview with Isaacson below:

SEE ALSO: Apple’s design team is working on projects that ‘will blow you away,’ Tim Cook says

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