Monday, April 17, 2023

Katie Cotton, RIP

The Express Times:

She arrived in California from New Jersey in 1988 ready to make her mark on the world. And so she did.

Katie is recognized as one of the most remarkable women in Public Relations and Marketing in Technology. In her role as Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications for Apple Inc., she worked most of her 18-year career directly for Steve Jobs. She was a strong and unwavering proponent for the company, helping to elevate its products and brand.

John Gruber:

I always appreciated Cotton’s forthrightness, and part of that is Apple’s institutional default to “no comment” when asked about anything other than what Apple wants to talk about. Those “no comments” seem to downright offend some reporters, but to me, they’re a sign of respect. Better not to say anything at all, and waste no one’s time, than to offer up a lengthy but meaningless pile of bullshit, which in my experience is how most PR teams operate.

Walt Mossberg:

Katie was a formidable figure for 18 years at Apple and I worked closely with her for most of that time. She was a key partner to Steve Jobs, who trusted her judgement.


Katie brilliantly led the media strategy for the historic run of big products during Jobs’s second tenure running Apple.


She had a big impact on Apple and the tech media and built a great team.

Daniel Jalkut:

Kinda feels like Katie Cotton passing should be front-page Apple memorial material.

See also: Mark Gurman.

Update (2023-05-08): Richard Sandomir:

Ms. Cotton, who built a culture of mystery by saying relatively little, if anything, to reporters, joined Apple in 1996 and began working with Mr. Jobs the next year, soon after he returned to the company after 12 years away. Apple was in poor financial shape at the time, but Ms. Cotton worked with him to engineer a striking turnaround.

Together they crafted a tightly controlled public relations strategy as the company recovered from steep losses and turned out one successful product after another, including the iMac desktop computer and innovative digital devices like the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.


“She was accessible, she was a point of contact,” said John Markoff, a former technology reporter for The New York Times, “but sometimes it was hand-to-hand combat if they wanted to convey a story to the world and it wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.”


Richard Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine, said in an email that Mr. Jobs “would call me five or six times in a day to tell me I should do a story or not,” and that Ms. Cotton would “frequently call right after and gently apologize or pull back something he had said.”

Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Leave a Comment