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Apple CEO Tim Cook says report on tensions with Jony Ive is ‘absurd’

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Cook: the design team at Apple is ‘phenomenally talented’ and ‘stronger than ever’

Apple boss Cook and design boss Ive Photo by Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook has fired back at a recent Wall Street Journal article that reported on tensions between departing chief design officer Jony Ive and the company, calling the story “absurd” and claiming that “the conclusions just don’t match with reality” in an email sent to NBC News reporter Dylan Byers.

The WSJ report alleged that Ive’s departure from the company had been a long time coming, claiming that Ive has been slowly drifting away from the company in recent years, leaving the design team at Apple rudderless and without leadership. A similar report was published at Bloomberg last week in the wake of Ive’s announcement, although Cook has yet to offer a rebuttal there.

Cook’s email instead notes that the design team at Apple is “phenomenally talented” and “stronger than ever,” and that the “projects they’re working on will blow you away.” It’s a rare move for Cook, who isn’t usually seen communicating with reporters directly with regards to internal Apple shake-ups.

It is telling, though, that in the email to Byers, Cook doesn’t name himself — the CEO of the company — as one of the leaders working with the design team on new products, something that his predecessor Steve Jobs famously did work on.

Given how close Apple tends to play its cards, it’s unlikely we’ll ever really get to know the full story behind Ive’s departure. Unless, of course, Cook wants to keep talking.