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Steve Jobs was critical of Tim Cook’s abilities as a ‘product person,’ says biographer

Walter Isaacson, author of the 2011 “Steve Jobs” biography, on CNBC on Monday revealed the extent of pointed criticism from the late Apple co-founder about Tim Cook not being a “product person.”

“I softened it in the book a bit. Sometimes I soften things that I thought were too harsh. In my book, Steve says how Tim Cook can do everything, and then he looked at me and said, ‘Tim’s not a product person,'” Isaacson said in a “Squawk Box” interview.

“Sometimes when Steve was in pain … and he was angry, he would say more things that [Cook] was not a product person,” recalled Isaacson. “I felt I would put in the specific things that were relevant to the reader but not the complaints.”

Cook became Apple CEO in August 2011, six weeks before Steve Jobs died from pancreatic cancer complications.

Isaacson’s remarks came as Monday’s Apple discussion turned to the announcement last month that design chief Jony Ive was leaving the company. Isaacson called Jobs and Ive “spiritual soul mates,” and described how Jobs would frequent Ive’s department and really dig in the design of Apple’s products.

Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” biography was published on Oct. 24, 2011, which was 19 days after Jobs’ death at the age of 56.

CNBC’s before the bell news roundup

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