Around 2005, Jobs faced a crucial decision. Should he give the
task of developing the device’s software to the team that built
the iPod, which wanted to build a Linux-based system? Or should he
entrust the project to the engineers who had revitalized the
software foundation of the Macintosh? In other words, should he
shrink the Mac, which would be an epic feat of engineering, or
enlarge the iPod? Jobs preferred the former option, since he would
then have a mobile operating system he could customize for the
many gizmos then on Apple’s drawing board. Rather than pick an
approach right away, however, Jobs pitted the teams against each
other in a bake-off.
Forstall led the Mac-centric approach. He commanded a team of
fewer than 15 engineers who went to work stripping down Apple’s OS
X operating system to see if it would work on a device with
considerably less power and battery life than a regular computer.
Leading the other group was Fadell, who helped create the iPod.
Another boy wonder, Fadell in 2005 had become one of Apple’s
youngest-ever senior vice-presidents at 36. The competition,
according to former Apple employees, turned explosive, with Fadell
and Forstall arguing over talent, resources, attention and credit.