Steve Jobs Almost Fired Apple Designer Jony Ive, Says Upcoming Biography

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Apple's Jony Ive is now revered for his beautifully sparse product designs, but back in 1997, the Apple design chief was convinced Steve Jobs was ready to fire him.

The revelation came out in a Fast Company excerpt of the upcoming biography "Becoming Steve Jobs," which goes on sale Tuesday. In the book, Ive recounts Jobs' return to Apple in 1997 (as part of an acquisition, following the company board's ouster of Jobs in 1985) and the chief's first heart-pounding visit to Ive's Design Lab:

The first time Steve made the long trek over to the Design Lab, Ive was nervous and apprehensive. "That very first time we met, he had already started to talk about reengaging Harmut Esslinger [the founder of Frog Design, who had designed the first Mac]," Ive says. "He came over to the studio, I think, essentially to fire me."

Ive even said he felt he deserved to be sacked, he told the biographers, as the products "we were shipping at the time … weren’t very good at all." But Ive impressed Jobs with his ability to explain complex concepts, and he was spared the heave-ho. Apple didn't immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment on the report.


-- Julianne Pepitone