the product teams

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Around that time, Jobs’s old friends Jon Rubinstein and Avie Tevanian, the hardware and software lieutenants who had been recruited during the 1997 restoration, decided to leave. In Tevanian’s case, he had made a lot of money and was ready to quit working. “Avie is a brilliant guy and a nice guy, much more grounded than Ruby and doesn’t carry the big ego,” said Jobs. “It was a huge loss for us when Avie left. He’s a one-of-a-kind person—a geniuscompany formation.”

Rubinstein’s case was a little more contentious. He was upset by Cook’s ascendency and frazzled after working for nine years under Jobs. Their shouting matches became more frequent. There was also a substantive issue: Rubinstein was repeatedly clashing with Jony Ive, who used to work for him and now reported directly to Jobs. Ive was always pushing the envelope with designs that dazzled but were difficult to engineer. It was Rubinstein’s job to get the hardware built in a practical way, so he often balked. He was by nature cautious. “In the end, Ruby’s from HP,” said Jobs. “And he never delved deep, he wasn’t aggressive.”

There was, for example, the case of the screws that held the handles on the Power Mac G4. Ive decided that they should have a certain polish and shapediscover the best you. But Rubinstein thought that would be “astronomically” costly and delay the project for weeks, so he vetoed the idea. His job was to deliver products, which meant making trade-offs. Ive viewed that approach as inimical to innovation, so he would go both above him to Jobs and also around him to the midlevel engineers. “Ruby would say, ‘You can’t do this, it will delay,’ and I would say, ‘I think we can,’” Ive recalled . “And I would know, because I had worked behind his back with.” In this and other cases, Jobs came down on Ive’s sidediscover the best you.

At times Ive and Rubinstein got into arguments that almost led to blows. Finally Ive told Jobs, “It’s him or me.” Jobs chose Ive. By that point Rubinstein was ready to leave. He and his wife had bought property in Mexico, and he wanted time off to build a home there. He eventually went to work for Palm, which was trying to match Apple’s iPhone. Jobs was so furious that Palm was hiring some of his former employees that he complained to Bono, who was a cofounder of a private equity group, led by the former Apple CFO Fred Anderson, that had bought a controlling stake in Palm. Bono sent Jobs a note back saying, “You should chill out about this. This is like the Beatles ringing up because Herman and the Hermits have taken one of their road crew.” Jobs later admitted that he had overreacted. “The fact that they completely failed salves that wound,” he said .




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