Tony Fadell

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Anthony M. "Tony" Fadell (born (1969-03-22) 22 March 1969 (age 44)) is an inventor, designer, entrepreneur, and angel investor. He served as the Senior Vice President of the iPod Division at Apple Inc., from March 2006 to November 2008 and is known as "one of the fathers of the iPod" [1] for his work on the first generations of Apple's music player. In May 2010, he founded Nest Labs, which announced its first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, in October 2011.[2]

Fadell is an alumnus of Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Computer Engineering in 1991.[3]

Early career[edit]

While still at University of Michigan, he was CEO of Constructive Instruments, which marketed MediaText, multimedia composition software for children. After college, Fadell worked for Apple spinoff General Magic for three years, working with Sony, Philips, Matsushita, Toshiba and other consumer electronics firms to develop a line of personal handheld communicators. Starting in 1992 as a diagnostics engineer and progressing to a systems architect,[4] he was responsible for the development of a number of technologies and devices, including the Sony Magic Link and Motorola Envoy, both of which were part of the Magic Cap platform.

Philips Electronics[edit]

In 1995 he was hired by Philips where he co-founded their Mobile Computing Group and served as the Chief Technology Officer, and Director of Engineering. He developed a number of Windows CE-based handheld services, notably the Philips Velo and Nino PDA [4] Fadell went on to become a Vice President of Philips Strategy and Ventures where he was in charge of developing Philips' digital audio strategy consisting of technology direction for silicon and software, as well as its investment portfolio and potential business models.[5][6]

During the 1990s, Fadell started his own company called Fuse to develop the "Dell of the Consumer Electronics." One of the devices he had in mind was a small hard disk-based music player. Fuse failed, however, to find a second round of funding, and Fadell started exploring developing the product at other companies. He first approached RealNetworks in 2000 but left after only six weeks.

Apple Inc.[edit]

Fadell started working for Apple in February 2001 as a contractor designing the iPod and planning Apple's audio product strategy.[6] During that time, he created the concept and initial design of the iPod. He was then hired by Apple to assemble and run its iPod & Special Projects group in April 2001. He was tasked with overseeing the design and production of the iPod and iSight devices, following the direction of Jon Rubinstein.[6][7] He was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004 and on October 14, 2005, Apple announced that Fadell would replace the retiring Jon Rubinstein as Senior Vice President of the iPod Division on March 31, 2006.[8] On November 3, 2008, The Wall Street Journal broke the story of Fadell's departure from Apple.[9]

Nest Labs, Inc.[edit]

While building his energy-efficient home near Lake Tahoe in California, Fadell went looking for a thermostat and was frustrated by the limited features of the devices available.[10] Together with Matt Rogers, a former Apple colleague, he set out to redesign the traditional thermostat. In May 2010, Fadell and Rogers co-founded Nest Labs in a garage in Palo Alto, CA.[11] Nest Labs, or Nest, is a company that designs and manufactures a sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, learning programmable thermostat, now in its second generation

In his 20-plus years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Tony has authored more than 300 patents. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Alva Award, honoring him as 'the next great serial inventor'.[12] Vanity Fair also recognized him as a trailblazer on their 2012 Next Establishment list.[13] In 2013, Fadell was acknowledged as one of Business Insider's Top 75 Designers in Technology,[14] Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People,[15] and CNBC's Top 50 Disruptors.[16]


  1. ^ Krazit, Tom (November 3, 2008). "Report: Tony Fadell, iPod chief, to leave Apple post". CNET News. 
  2. ^ Kelion, Leo (November 29, 2012). "Tony Fadell: From iPod father to thermostat start-up". BBC News. 
  3. ^ "Alumni Profile - Michigan Engineer". University of Michigan. 
  4. ^ a b Pamela Kruger; Katharine Mieszkowski (September 1998). "Stop the Fight". Fast Company. 
  5. ^ "Profile". Strategic News Service. 
  6. ^ a b c John Markoff (April 25, 2004). "Oh, Yeah, He Also Sells Computers". New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Alumni Profile". Michigan Engineer. University of Michigan. 
  8. ^ Apple Computer, Inc. (October 14, 2005). "Tim Cook Named COO of Apple". Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Key Apple Executive to Depart". The Wall Street Journal. November 4, 2008. 
  10. ^ "The podfather, part III.". The Economist. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "NY Times, Ex-Apple Leaders Push the Humble Thermostat Into the Digital Age". The New York Times. October 25, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ Glei, Jocelyn. "The 2012 Alva Award + Inventor Tony Fadell on the Creative Process". 99u. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Chafkin, Matt; Kafka, Peter; Koblin, John; Koblin, John; Buckley, Cat; Deligter, Jack (7 September 2012). "The Next Establishment". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Dickey, Megan (7 May 2013). "The Design 75: The Best Designers in Technology". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "The 100 Most Creative People In Business". Fast Company. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "CNBC Disruptor 50". CNBC. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

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