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Apple Forms New iPod Division, Organizes Macintosh Division

Apple Forms New iPod Division, Organizes Macintosh Division

by , 5:00 AM EDT, May 20th, 2004

Apple has formed a new division within the company dedicated to the iPod. Reuters is reporting that the new division will be headed by Jon Rubinstein, former Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering for Apple, while Timothy Cook, former Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations, will head the Macintosh division. From Reuters:

Jon Rubinstein, who has led the Cupertino, California-based company's hardware engineering efforts, will run the new division, an Apple spokesman said.

Timothy Cook, head of Apple's worldwide sales and operations, will lead a newly organized Macintosh division, Apple said. Tim Bucher, now in charge of Macintosh system development, will head up the Mac's hardware engineering.

[...]

"This organizational refinement will focus our talent and resources even more precisely on our industry-leading Macintosh computers and the wildly successful iPod," the spokesman said.

There's more information in the full article, which is being hosted by the New York Times (free registration required).

The Mac Observer Spin:

We have been wondering of late about the growing emphasis Apple is placing on the iPod, while the company is busily not advertising Mac OS X, or any Mac hardware. It's a dichotomy that is easy to understand when the company is making money hand over fist with the iPod, but we would like to see the company bring some more focus back to the Mac. [This editor discussed that at length in Part 5 of his heads up debate with Rob Enderle at MacNewsWorld.]

In this light, this reorganization, as we think of the formation of a new division, is good news. Having dedicated divisions within Apple that each focus on the iPod and the Macintosh will bring, as the Apple spokesperson said, new focus on each of them. This is in sharp contrast to having a company that was formally dedicated to only product line, the Mac, with a new product sucking up that dedication from what likely amounted to large sections of Apple. Having territorial divisions will allow the people within those divisions to keep their eyes on their specific areas.

Or so we hope, because even as we typed it out, we were reminded of the age in the mid 1980s when the new Mac division, headed by the pirate flag-waving Steve Jobs, made mock of the Apple II division, the old-guard within Apple that was paying all the bills. As detailed in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0, that situation got ugly, culminating in a literal food fight between employees of each division, which in itself helped lead to Steve Jobs' ouster.

The situations between the Mac vs. Apple II divisions and the iPod vs. Mac divisions are almost precisely analogous. Couple that with Steve Jobs' comment in 1997, before he came back to Apple, about milking the Mac for as long as possible while moving on to the next big thing, and it does give one cause to think.

That said, the culture at Apple is vastly different from the Apple of the mid-80s, and today's management team is vastly superior to the management structure of that Apple. Indeed, the entire industry has matured, and we honestly expect very good things to come out of this development, no matter the shades of ages past that might haunt our thoughts.

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