Before creating the home automation company Nest, Tony Fadell cut his teeth at Apple by creating revolutionary products like the iPod. You’d think being one of the key guys behind Apple’s resurgence in the early aughts means you get hooked up with Apple products for life, but according to Fadell, he had to pre-order the Apple Watch like the rest of us peasants. And he’s still waiting for it to arrive.
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After failing to garner consumer interest for nearly two years, the fate of Google Glass is now in the hands of former Apple executive Tony Fadell. The Glass Explorer program is also being shut down on January 19th, which means it will be impossible to buy the $1,500 headset commercially.
Fadell, whose claim to fame at Apple was leading the development of the original iPod, joined Google last February when Nest was acquired for $3.2 billion. Now Google Glass is being moved out of the experimental Google X division and placed under Fadell’s leadership.
The development of Glass hasn’t been halted, but the move signals the trouble Google has had gaining momentum with the project.
Tony Fadell might model himself after Steve Jobs, but from the sound of things he may have taken disproportionately from the bad side of Jobs’ personality rather than the good side.
A new article appearing on StrictlyVC reports on the experience of the recently Nest-acquired Dropcam — makers of an iOS-friendly Wi-Fi security camera — whose employees are apparently struggling quite a bit with dealing with a the prickly, micromanaging Fadell.
In 2004, at the height of the original iPod’s success, Apple started asking itself internally what would eventually kill the iPod. Whatever it was, Cupertino wanted to make sure they stayed ahead of the curve.
What did Apple think would doom the iPod? According to ex-iPod-chief Tony Fadell, Cupertino called it correctly: Music streaming would eventually kill the iPod. But Apple didn’t call it streaming, or even music in the cloud. They called it the “celestial music jukebox.”
There may only have been one Steve Jobs, but a recent article from Fast Company draws some interesting parallels between Jobs and Nest CEO, Tony Fadell — previously known as the Apple employee most synonymous with the iPod.
Alongside his obsessive focus on perfection and simplicity, the article notes that Fadell even lives in the same same neighborhood that Jobs once did.
One interesting passage that stands out describes Fadell’s Jobsian approach to management at Nest:
Like Nests’s futuristic thermostat, its iPhone-controlled smoke/carbon monoxide detector looked like the perfect replacement for the antiquated systems used in most homes today. It turns out that the Nest Protect was a little too good to be true.
Since the device went on sale in November of last year, Nest has discovered that one of the Protect’s hallmark features can malfunction. And that happens to create big safety concerns. Until the issue is resolved, Nest Protect sales have halted.
The Google-owned Nest thermostat arrives in the U.K. today.
It can be purchased from Nest’s online store, alongside Amazon, Apple, and B&Q — priced at £179, or £249 with the recommended professional installation included.
This time on the CultCast: Google buys Nest and their 100 ex-Apple employees, but why? Aaron Sorkin’s Jobs biopic finally gets a script, Kutcher’s Jobs just gets a Razzie nod; plus, iOS finally gets a full-size gaming controller!
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The big intrigue in the tech world today is why Google bought Nest Labs for $3.2 billion and Apple didn’t.
A lot of the speculation is paranoid: Google wants to track everyone offline as well as online, and Nest’s thermostat and smoke alarms give the Googleplex motion sensors right in peoples’ homes.
But wouldn’t Apple be a more natural fit for the home-automation startup? Nest was co-founded by two former Apple staffers, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Fadell was one the fathers of the iPod — a key hardware engineer who led the music player’s development over 17 generations. Rogers was one of Fadell’s top lieutenants.
With great design and easy interfaces, Nest’s combination of hardware and internet software services makes its products very Apple-like. And as home automation is poised to take off (thanks largely to the iPhone and iPad), Apple is surely interested in this potentially huge market.
So why didn’t Apple didn’t pick up the company? Maybe it’s because Jony Ive, Apple’s head designer, was responsible for getting Tony Fadell pushed out of Cupertino.
A lot of us were surprised that Apple didn’t even put up a fight to outbid Google for Nest – co-founded by Tony Fadell aka, the Father of the iPod – and its army of smarthome employees. Not only did Google score Nest’s innovative smart-thermostat and smoke detector in the $3.2 billion deal, but in an age where quality talent is getting harder to come by, the company also scooped up 100 ex-Apple employees in the process.