Reports have surfaced this week that Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, has responded to the news of Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs in the by now time-honoured fashion. Yes, he pressed ‘unfollow’.
Apple Insider explains that days after the ‘smart home’ products firm – best known for its thermostats and smoke alarms – was sold to Google for the eyebrow raising price of US$3.2 billion, Schiller decided to unfollow the Twitter accounts of both Nest itself and its leader, Tony Fadell.
Of course, there is history there. Fadell used to work for Apple and is regarded by many as ‘one of the fathers of the iPod’. He left Apple and founded Nest Labs in May 2010, alongside another ex-Apple employee, engineer Matt Rogers.
Nest Labs has attracted several other Apple expats since then, including former director of iPod software Bryan James and former chief patent counsel Chip Lutton Junior.
The two companies have had various ties in the last couple of years, with Nest’s Learning Thermostat originally being launched as an exclusive product through the Apple store, while its second generation device is also sold through the Apple retail network.
But perhaps relations have soured a little, following Nest’s acquisition by one of Apple’s greatest rivals.
Apple Insider notes that, while hardly prolific, Schiller is a regular Twitter user, currently following 117 people, being followed by 115,259 (as of today) and posting around once a week or four to five times a month. His posts over the last year have been not so much Apple-related, but more general in nature – citing Dickens on Boxing Day (“Merry Christmas to all. God bless us, every one!”), making a tribute to Nelson Mandela earlier in the month and frequently responding to sporting fixtures.
He is still currently following the likes of Tim Cook (unsurprisingly), The Daily Show, the Boston Red Sox, Macworld (of course), Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Branson, Al Gore and Jenson Button. But no Tony Fadell. And no Nest Labs. Not any more.