Wayne Goodrich was the executive producer behind Apple's sleek and storied debuts of new iPads and iPhones. He claims that he was such a valuable employee to Steve Jobs that Jobs promised he'd always have a job at the company.
So how has the new, Jobs-less Apple thanked him? The 14-year veteran, fired two months after Jobs' death, is now suing his former employer.
Bloomberg News reports that Apple let him go in December for no legitimate reason, per a lawsuit filed last Friday. Goodrich has brought a laundry list of charges against Apple, including "breach of contract and unfair business practices," and he "seeks damages for lost restricted stock units, wages, benefits and emotional distress," according to Bloomberg. In addition to being executive producer of Apple’s public presentations, Goodrich also says he was the first employee to meet with the makers of Siri ahead of Apple's purchase of the voice-command digital assistant.
Of course, we're only hearing Goodrich's side of the story; Apple, being Apple, did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comment.
Although the staggering success kickstarted and overseen by Steve Jobs has continued after his death (the company hit a record $621 billion valuation earlier this week), this lawsuit serves as a reminder that Apple's under new management and evolving into a different company than the one Jobs headed up. Without Goodrich, could Apple lose the polish on its presentations that have served to amp the hype around new products? Will the new iPhone (unofficially called the "iPhone 5") enjoy a launch event as carefully crafted as its predecessors? "It’s worth wondering what the iPhone 5 presentation will look like knowing that Goodrich likely had nothing to do with it," TechCrunch astutely noted. We'll have to wait and see: The new handset is widely believed to be launching on September 12 and hitting shelves on September 21.
But to speculate further, maybe what we're seeing is Jobs' more business-oriented successor, current CEO Tim Cook, willing to part with key longtime employees in order to save a few bucks. Goodrich claims he was let go so the company could avoid paying him restricted stock. While we don't have dollar figures, could it be that we're seeing the new Apple making a short term cost cut in lieu of keeping Jobs-blessed talent around to help pitch products in the long term?
We don't know, of course, but we do know that Apple's a-changing under the more business-minded Tim Cook. As Fortune notes in its May profile of Cook, "there are signs of Apple becoming a more normal company." It continues: "Indeed, the vibe, in the words of a former employee, is of an Apple that is becoming 'far more traditional,' meaning more MBAs, more process, and more structure."
More "normal" also might be the bottom line trumping Steve Jobs' promise of lifetime employment.
Earlier on HuffPost:
How Apple Got Its Name
"Executek," "Matrix," "Personal Computers Inc." were among the names Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak considered for their company, writes Isaacson. Jobs proposed "Apple" after returning from a visit to All One Farm where he had helped tend for the apple trees. "I was on one of my fruitarian diets," Jobs told Isaacson. "I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word 'computer.'"
Clinton Asked Jobs' Advice On Lewinsky Scandal
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537" target="_hplink">According to Isaacson</a>, during a "late-night phone conversation," President Bill Clinton <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/bill-clinton-steve-jobs-lewinsky_n_1025876.html" target="_hplink">asked Jobs</a> how he should deal with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "I don't know if you did it, but if so, you've got to tell the country," Jobs told Clinton. The president was silent on the other end of the line, Isaacson writes.
Why Jobs Wore Black Turtlenecks
<a href="http://gawker.com/5848754" target="_hplink">According to Isaacson, </a>Jobs' signature black turtleneck was initially inspired by a visit in the early '80s to a Sony factory in Japan, where the Apple co-founder noticed that all of the employees wore uniforms. Jobs liked the concept: he suggested Apple employees might likewise embrace a dress code of sorts and worked with Japanese designer Issey Miyake to design vests for his employees -- who nixed the idea. But Jobs "came to like the idea of having a uniform for himself, because of both its daily convenience (the rationale he claimed) and its ability to convey a signature style," writes Isaacson. Jobs, who had befriended Miyake, asked the designer to make him "some of the black turtlenecks that I liked." The designer complied, and Jobs' trademark look was born. Prior to this, Jobs had favored white shirts and jeans, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/steve-jobs-tech-pioneer_n_999321.html" target="_hplink">former Apple employee Jay Elliot told the Huffington Post.</a>
Jobs Was Disappointed By Obama
Jobs was a supporter of Obama's -- he offered to help the president with his ads for the 2012 campaign -- but <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson/dp/1451648537" target="_hplink">Jobs told Isaacson</a> he was "disappointed in Obama" who was "having trouble leading because he's reluctant to offend people or piss them off." "You're headed for a one-term presidency," Jobs told Obama during a forty-five minute meeting between the two men. Jobs argued that the president's administration needed to be more friendly toward business and more aggressive in reforming the nation's education system.
Jobs Refused Potentially Life-Saving Surgery To Treat His Cancer
As Isaacson noted in both his biography and <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385390n&tag=mncol;lst;1" target="_hplink">during an interview with 60 Minutes</a>, Jobs initially refused to undergo what could have been a life-saving surgery to treat his pancreatic cancer. For months, Jobs instead opted to treat the cancer with other, non-invasive therapies, including unusual diets, herbal remedies, and acupuncture. "The big thing was that he really was not ready to open his body," Jobs' wife Laurene Powell explained. Powell did attempt to talk her husband into the surgery. "The body exists to serve the spirit," she told Jobs.
Jobs Initially Opposed Apps
The thousands of applications available on iTunes have become a defining feature for Apple and have earned developers billions of dollars. Jobs, however, initially opposed the idea of offering third-party apps. Art Levinson, a member of Apple's board, recalled phoning Jobs "half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps." Isaacson writes that Jobs "at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers."
Jobs Was 'Depressed' By Lukewarm Reaction To iPad
Though iPad has been an unqualified success for Apple, the initial reaction to the tablet was lukewarm at best. People mocked its name, dismissed it as little more than an overgrown iPod touch, and speculated that it could be Apple's second Newton--a big, giant flop. "I kind of got depressed today. It knocks you back a bit," Jobs told Isaacson the night after he unveiled the iPad.
Jobs' Bizarre Interview Question: 'Are You A Virgin?'
Isaacson writes that Jobs enjoyed asking job candidates "offbeat" questions to test their ability to think on their feet and gauge whether they had the right personality mix to succeed at Apple. The author recounts how on one occasion, Jobs began peppering a potential hire, who was "too uptight and conventional," with unusual questions -- and even interrupted his answers with "Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble." "How old were you when you lost your virginity?" Jobs asked. He continued, "Are you a virgin?" adding, "How many times have you taken LSD?"
Jobs: Google 'Wholesale Ripped Us Off'
Isaacson's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/steve-jobs-google-grand-theft_n_1023111.html" target="_hplink">biography lays bare some of the animosity Jobs</a> reportedly felt toward Google following its launch of Android. Jobs described Android as a "grand theft" that stole from the iPhone. "Our lawsuit is saying, 'Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,'" Jobs told Isaacson in a conversation about a patent lawsuit Apple had filed. "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product." "I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this," Jobs added.
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