Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Monday fiercely disputed a report about the departure of design chief Jony Ive and the company’s ability to uphold its commitment to innovative design, NBC reports.
In a rare, scathing statement sent exclusively to NBC News, Cook took issue with a report published Sunday night by The Wall Street Journal that said Ive had grown frustrated with Cook’s leadership and alleged lack of interest in the design production process. Cook said the report does not match reality and fails to understand how Apple’s design team actually works.
“The story is absurd,” Cook said in an email. “A lot of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions, just don’t match with reality.”
Cook does not often publicly rebut news reports but he appeared compelled to do so given his frustrations with the article, which said that the company is prioritizing operations at the expense of design.
“At a base level, it shows a lack of understanding about how the design team works and how Apple works,” Cook said. “It distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don’t recognize the company it claims to describe.”
The Wall Street Journal declined to comment.
The rebuttal from Cook, who took over the top job at Apple after the death of Steve Jobs, comes as the company is trying to demonstrate that Ive’s departure is not a sign of greater troubles.
Ive, who was responsible for the look of many of Apple’s most iconic products, including the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and the Apple Watch, announced Thursday that he would leave the company to start his own design firm, though he will continue to work with Apple as a contractor.
“While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come,” Ive told the Financial Times. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change.”
But on Sunday night, The Wall Street Journal’s Tripp Mickle reported that Ive “had been growing more distant from…