Photo: Associated Press
For all of Apple’s success through the years, its employees have only produced a handful of interesting startups.It’s starting to change with some software engineers leaving to do their own app companies, but for the most part Apple’s employees don’t seem to have the same entrepreneurial spirit as Google.
We don’t know for sure why this is the case, but we presume it has to do with Apple’s culture which is secretive, fractious, and centered on Steve Jobs’ brilliance. Google’s culture is more open and encourages each employee to work on their own projects.
At any rate, we’ve picked out 10 of the more interesting startups to come from ex-Apple employees through the years. Take a look and see if any patterns emerge.
Andy Rubin, the man behind Google's Android software started at Apple in 1989. He was CEO of Danger, the company behind the Sidekick for a little while, but was ousted. That led to him doing Android an open source mobile software company. Google bought Android and it has become one of its most successful businesses.
Loren Brichter left Apple after a year with the company to launch atebits, a software company focused on Macs and iPhones. He built the hugely popular 'Tweetie' app which Twitter eventually purchased. He's now in charge of making official Twitter apps for Apple products like iPad, Mac, and iPhone.
Evan Doll was a senior iPhone software engineer at Apple until July 2009, when he jumped ship. He landed at Flipboard, which takes Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and other sources to create a social magazine for the iPad. Apple liked Doll's work so much that it named Flipboard App of the Year for 2010.
Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith were Apple employees in the eighties. They left the company and eventually created Hotmail which was later purchased by Microsoft. Smith and Bhatia have worked on various startups since, but none have been as successful.
Reid Hoffman's distinguished career in tech started at Apple as a product manager. He's since been a founder at two pretty successful tech startups -- PayPal and LinkedIn.
In 2008 Apple bought P.A. Semi, a chip startup. Shortly after that acquisition, the employes of the company left Apple to start Agnilux, a stealth startup working on servers. Last year Google bought Agnilux.
Dave Morin, the man behind Path, the mobile photo sharing application, started his career at Apple working as a manager in the higher education department.
Of all the Apple employees that went on to start their own companies, or work at startups, it seems like Steve Jobs has had the most success. He helped nurture Pixar into life, and he started NeXT. Pixar is a runaway success, NeXT was sort of a flop, but Apple bought it and brought Jobs back to the company, so it worked out pretty well.
Palm wasn't technically a startup when Jon Rubinstein joined, but it certainly acted like one. It abandoned its old product and tried to create something new from scratch. It didn't work out, and Palm was sold to HP.