I’m happy to announce that Ted Kremenek will be taking over for me as “Project Lead” for the Swift project, managing the administrative and leadership responsibility for Swift.org. This recognizes the incredible effort he has already been putting into the project, and reflects a decision I’ve made to leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space. This decision wasn’t made lightly, and I want you all to know that I’m still completely committed to Swift. I plan to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team, as well as a contributor to the swift-evolution mailing list.
Lattner’s contribution to Apple’s developer tools has been enormous. His departure is a big loss for Apple.
The Apple developer community is still in the middle of the transition to Swift. I’m a little surprised he’d leave in the midst of the upheaval. It’s a thriving language, but it is far from a completed project — neither the language itself nor the OS frameworks.
Makes one wonder why Apple couldn’t keep him, but depending on what he ends up doing this could be very good for Swift.
Update (2017-01-10): Andrew Pontious:
I always wondered if Lattner would be happy under several layers of Apple management.
Company is very top-down.
For someone of his talents and ambition, you either work your way up to the top, or you leave.
Lattner is doing an AMA on Slashdot.
I’m very sad to see Lattner go after Swift 3, but remember Parkhurst left NeXT after NeXTstep 3, and Cocoa’s had a 28-year run so far.
We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software. Chris’ reputation for engineering excellence is well known. He comes to Tesla after 11 years at Apple where he was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms and one of the fastest growing languages for doing so on Linux.
I hope Teslas will crash less than Xcode.
Apple’s poor ability to attract and retain artificial intelligence and services talent is the most serious effect. Apple rarely acquires AI or services companies; however, the odd occasion when they do, key staff depart soon after— often to work on competitors’ products[…]
Also making news today is Daniel Gross’ announcement that he’s leaving Apple for Y Combinator. Gross directed many of Apple’s machine learning initiatives, while Lattner created Swift; these are two of the highest-profile initiatives within the company.
Update (2017-01-11): John Gruber:
Now, it feels like Apple is out of the car game, and Tesla is gunning for Apple’s lead in computing. You can’t overstate what a star Chris Lattner is.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk famously called Apple a “Tesla graveyard” where his failed employees go to toil.
That was a nifty bit of Musk-esque verbal sparring in what is a growing talent war between the tech titans. But it seems he’s now robbing the graveyard.
Chris Lattner isn’t the only high profile Apple executive who departed for Tesla over the past month, rather than sticking around to work on Titan. 9to5mac has learned that Matt Casebolt, a high profile Senior Director of Design for Apple’s Mac lineup left the company last month for a role at Tesla as Sr. Director Engineering, Closures & Mechanisms. A job meant for a man named Casebolt …
Over the past two and a half years Casebolt led the development of the MacBook Pro with its standout and sometimes controversial Touch Bar feature. Before that, he led the team working on the iconic ‘trash can’ Mac Pro and was previously instrumental in the design of the first generations of MacBook Air. These are some of Apple’s most iconic Mac products over the past decade.
Ted has been one of the quiet but incredible masterminds behind Swift (and Clang, and the Clang Static Analyzer) for many years. His approach and modesty has led many to misunderstand the fact that he has actually been running the Swift team for quite some time (misattributing it to me). While I’m super happy to continue to participate in the ongoing evolution and design of Swift, I’m clearly outmatched by the members of the Apple Swift team, and by Ted’s leadership of the team.
“He always felt constrained at Apple in terms of what he could discuss publicly — resorting to off-the-record chats, surprise presentations, and the like,” the person told us. “Similarly, I know he was constrained in recruiting and other areas. Eventually I know that can really wear people down.”
This wouldn’t be Apple’s first time losing someone in a big public way because it insists on secrecy over collaboration. As we previously reported, Apple’s entire networking team quit within a one-week period back in 2015 when Apple asked the team to build a bulletproof network and then refused to allow it to collaborate with others outside the company in its field doing similar work via an organization called Open Compute Project.
My decision has nothing to do with “openness”. The “friend” cited is either fabricated or speculating. Folk just want to make 🍎 look bad.
Update (2017-01-18): Joe Rossignol:
As it turns out, Lattner told MacRumors the answer is actually very simple: he is ready to move on to something new.
See also: Accidental Tech Podcast’s interview with Lattner.
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