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Apple iPod Chief's Official Departure Marks End Of An Era

For the first time in nine years, the technical guru who helped deliver Apple's biggest breakthroughs including the iPod and the iPhone is no longer on the company's payroll.

iPod

Tony Fadell has officially ended his role as a special adviser to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to a report in The New York Times .

Fadell, who had stepped down as senior vice president of Apple's iPod division in 2008, told the Times that his primary focus now will be on "helping the environment by working with consumer green-tech companies."

"I'm determined to tell my kids and grandkids amazing stories beyond my iPod and iPhone ones," he told the Times.

Fadell was tied to Apple until March 24 as part of an employment agreement disclosed in an Apple Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Under that agreement, Fadell was expected to receive a payout valued at nearly $9 million (a $300,000 salary and 77,500 Apple shares valued at $8.4 million) for acting as an adviser to Jobs.

The payout was part of a complicated settlement agreement that prevented Fadell from suing Apple or soliciting Apple employees for one year after he leaves the company.

Fadell left Apple at the same time that his wife, Apple's senior vice president for human resources, Danielle Lambert, also left the company.

Apple revealed last November that Fadell was stepping down and that the company had tapped 25-year IBM veteran Mark Papermaster to take over as senior vice president of devices hardware engineering at Apple.

Fadell joined Apple as the first member of its iPod hardware engineering team in 2001. He was promoted to vice president of iPod engineering in 2004.

The departure of Fadell marks the end of an era as the company has just begin to ship its next-generation product, the iPad.

A number of Apple followers applauded Fadell for stepping up to tackle green technology issues.

"I take my hat off to him," said Franco1975 in a posting on Gizmodo comparing Fadell to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who has done a lot of charity work aimed at helping third world countries.

"Hooray for helping the environment!" wrote another Apple follower on Gizmodo. "This man is going the way of Bill Gates and it's a good way to go."

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