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Tim Cook slams report about Jony Ive distancing himself from Apple

A report alleged Apple's chief design officer didn't see eye to eye with the CEO about the future of the company.

2018 Apple Autumn New Product Release Conference

In an email, Tim Cook challenged a report about tensions with design chief Jony Ive.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday said a report alleging design chief Jony Ive has been distancing himself from the company for awhile is "absurd." 

A Sunday report by The Wall Street Journal said Ive has been distancing himself from Apple for years as the company shifted focus under Cook's leadership. Ive reportedly grew frustrated with Cook, who was more focused on business operations than the product design process, according to the Journal. This reportedly led him to withdraw from routine management of the company's design team. 

Ive's departure was announced last week.  

Cook responded to the Journal's report in an email to NBC News, saying: "A lot of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions, just don't match with reality. At a base level, it shows a lack of understanding about how the design team works and how Apple works. It distorts relationships, decisions and events to the point that we just don't recognize the company it claims to describe."

Ive's need to redesign non-Apple products is largely seen as the end of the Steve Jobs era. During his nearly 30 years working for the tech giant, Ive designed several of the company's most memorable hardware products, including the iPhone and iMac, and had a hand in other significant projects as diverse as iOS 7 and Apple Park.

Ive plans to form an independent design firm and keep Apple as a primary client. Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, according to a press release from Apple. 

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First published July 1 at 8:49 a.m. PT.
Update, 2:55 p.m.: Adds Tim Cook's email.