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It's with a touch of sadness that we bid adieu to Tony Fadell, the "father of the iPod. He's leaving Apple after nine years, and, though I didn't know him personally, he's contributed a lot to my favorite tech company.
As noted by "The New York Times" (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/godfather-of-ipod-severs-final-...), Tony played a key role in the company’s resurgence. He first envisioned a hard-drive-based digital music player in the 1990s and brought the idea to Seattle-based Real Networks, where he reportedly clashed with Real’s chief executive, Rob Glaser, and left after six weeks. Fadell then approached Apple in 2001, and history was made. The company sold 54.7 million iPods during its last fiscal year, which ended in September.
Tony's departure from Apple has been gradual. In 2008, he stepped down as senior vice president of the iPod division, but has remained on Apple’s payroll as a special adviser to CEO Steve Jobs. He told "The Times" that he's moving on now to advise companies and pursue private investments with a focus on green technology.
Tony was the first member of the iPod hardware engineering team when he joined Apple in 2001. He was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004. He became senior vice president of the iPod Division in April 2006.
Prior to joining Apple, Tony was a co-founder, CTO, and director of engineering of the Mobile Computing Group at Philips Electronics where he was responsible for all aspects of business and product development for a variety of products. He later became vice president of business development for Philips U.S. Strategy & Ventures focused on building the company’s digital media strategy & investment portfolio. Prior to joining Philips, Fadell was a hardware and software architect at General Magic.
He graduated with a BS degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1991. He has filed more than 20 patents for his work.
So good luck, Tony, on your upcoming ventures. You'll always have a place in the heart of Apple fans.