In a wide-ranging interview with Wired published on Thursday, Fadell held nothing back about his time working for Steve Jobs at Apple and at Alphabet, after Google acquired his company Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion. He discussed his time at Apple, where he created the iPod but was very publicly tossed aside with the unveiling of the iPhone, and what it was like to work under the dramatically different Alphabet. He also shared some concerns with the way Apple is currently dealing with a startup he’s invested in, and used some colorful language to describe his disgust.
Read on for some highlights from Fadell’s discussion on Apple, Alphabet, and Steve Jobs:
On Apple and Steve Jobs
Fadell discussed in the interview closing a company he founded called Fuse and ultimately working for Apple (AAPL) to build its first iPod. While that effort ultimately went well, and Fadell was considered a major reason for Apple’s renewed success at the turn of the century, he started to butt heads with Apple’s former senior vice president for software development Scott Forstall in 2007 when the iPhone was unveiled. Before long, Fadell was out, and he recalls Steve Jobs, who had his own problems with the iPod creator, wondering why it took so long for him to quit.
“Steve was wondering why we didn’t do it sooner,” Fadell said of the day he quit in 2008.
Before long, however, the interview turned to present day, when Fadell yelled out, “f— Apple!” According to Wired, Fadell was mad at Apple for having a “dispute” between one of the companies he’s invested in and the iPhone maker.
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Next up, Fadell discussed his relationship with Alphabet (GOOGL), which at the time of Nest’s acquisition in 2014, was Google. Fadell told Wired that soon after Google acquired his company, he was to be in charge of the company’s smart home efforts and rebrand Dropcam, a home camera company Google had also acquired in 2014.
However, he argued in the interview that when Google (GOOGL) hired Ruth Porat as CFO in 2015 and became Alphabet, everything changed. He said that Alphabet took on a more fiscal-first approach and applied “new metrics” to judge his performance. It was something he wasn’t comfortable with, according to Wired.
At the end of 2015, Fadell’s Alphabet troubles didn’t get any better, he told Wired, and ultimately told his wife it was time to move on when he heard Alphabet was considering selling Nest.
“At that point I knew it wasn’t going to work out, and that’s when I came home to my wife, after a lot of struggles with the Alphabet thing. It wasn’t working, it was, OK, it’s over,” he said.
However, Fadell stayed on at Nest for a brief while and by June, was out. Fadell didn’t say in the interview whether he was fired or left the company.