Tag Archives: tony fadell

3 Reasons Apple Should Have Bought Nest

Guest author Alex Salkever is the global product manager of cloud computing/IaaS at Telefónica.

Cupertino is going to rue letting the smart-home device maker slip into Google’s hands.

Alex Salkever January 15, 2014


Google surprised the tech world Monday with its $3.2 billion acquisition of smart-thermostat maker Nest. Given that Nest was founded by former Apple executive Tony Fadell, who designed the iPod, lots of people had assumed the company would eventually get snapped up by Cupertino. But some press reports suggest that Apple wasn’t even in the bidding.

Here are three reasons Apple may regret passing on the deal.

1. The Data

Google sees clearly that data acquisition platforms are the future of technology. Our technology will be more aware of us and our needs. Anyone who has tracked the iteration of Google Search has watched this happen over time. And anyone who compares Google Search five years ago to Google Search today clearly sees the value of using data—personal, location-specific, temporal, environmental—to dictate information sharing and selection.

The Nest is essentially a giant distributed data network. Yes, it is a bunch of point specific devices. But over time, the Nest, which is basically a nifty design on top of a sensor platform, will provide huge volumes of information about how people live, their habits, their wants, their needs. It taps directly into the Google Now zeitgeist, which is, frankly, happening now.

2. The Design Team

If for not other reason than as a defensive play, Apple should have kept Tony Fadell out of Larry Page’s hands. Apple has a ton of capital. Nest was going to be a tremendous hit, almost certainly profitable as an acquisition even at a high multiple. It already is, arguably, the biggest success story of the Internet-enabled hardware and home electronics.

So why didn’t Tim Cook cough up a few billion and keep Tony Fadell in the fold, affording Apple access to one of the best product minds in the world who is now focused on one of the fastest growing product markets (smart phone sales are, of course, slowing). Why let him go to Google where his product design expertise and his, for lack of a better word, Jobsyness, could provide a fearless leader to a team that has struggled to deliver truly compelling product design?

3. Skate To The Space, Not To The Puck

Apple has basically failed to break out of the computing box. The iPhone, the IPad, the various laptops and desktops, all are flavors of dedicated computers.

That’s well and good, but there is a much bigger story outside of computers and in the world of functional things connected to the Internet. They are more task-specific devices. They are varied. They may not have as much platform gravity as computers. But they are critical and they are becoming ubiquitous.

Apple is nowhere in that market. The AppleTV is the closest thing it’s come to an Internet of Things appliance, but it hasn’t been a breakout success compared to the iPad or the IPhones.

Skating to the space is hard when the entire rink is one giant white space as the future unfolds before our eyes. Google is skating to the space. Often, the space will likely remain just that. But sometimes they may get there right when the puck does, and that’s what Apple needs to worry about.

The Empty Nest

None of this is to say that Apple is doomed or that Apple has been dealt a severe blow. To the contrary, this deal may actually serve to wake Apple up enough to get it moving in the right direction (and I don’t mean an iWatch). Shocks to the system are good.

The fact that Google not only scooped up Nest Labs but also 100 former Apple employees is also of consequence. And certainly the Nest buy has resonated through the thick walls of the Mac fortress in Cupertino.


Apple board member Bill Campbell expects high-tech ‘intimate’ device era, hints at ‘iWatch’

In a talk at Intuit’s headquarters on Friday, company chairman and Apple board member Bill Campbell aired his thoughts on the intersection of technology and “intimate” objects, which he expects will yield a new era of personal electronics.


Campbell spoke with Intuit CEO Brad Smith at the firm’s Mountain View headquarters, with the wide-ranging discussion moving from product design to behind-the-scenes management techniques, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

During the conversation, Campbell offered some insight into the future of personal tech, including the effect technology will have on devices he referred to as “intimate.”

Specifically, he told those in attendance to expect to see “a lot of things going on with the application of technology to really intimate things.” Campbell gave the example of Google Glass, the search giant’s wearable computing device that takes the form of a head-mounted display. He called the system a “phenomenal breakthrough.”

“When you start to think about glasses or watches, they become as intimate as the cell phone was,” Campbell said.

Apple is rumored to be readying a so-called “smart watch” that will connect with iOS devices, possibly offering a secondary display and control unit for products like the iPhone. AppleInsider discovered a patent filing in February suggesting the company was indeed researching such a device, though concrete evidence showing that the much-rumored product even exists has yet to materialize.

Campbell also touched on Nest, the company founded by iPod godfather Tony Fadell that makes the advanced internet-connected Nest Learning Thermostat, saying he was surprised at the firm’s success.

Finally, the Apple board member gave some advice to product managers, who Campbell said should model themselves as “editors” and work closely with engineers to see a project through to fruition. He pointed to late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, with whom he was a close friend, and cofounder of Twitter and current Square CEO Jack Dorsey as being two examples of effective leaders.

(VIA. Apple Insider)