updated 10:55 pm EDT, Mon September 28, 2009
Tchao back after 15 year hiatus
Apple has rehired a former employee, Michael Tchao, to serve as the vice president of product marketing after a 15 year hiatus, according to the New York Times. Spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed that Tchao will report to Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Although Apple has not yet divulged additional information regarding Tchao's specific duties at the company, the hiring has reignited speculation regarding a rumored tablet device. He has been credited with playing a primary role in convincing former CEO John Sculley to build the unsuccessful Newton tablet platform.
“He’s got the scars and the great ideas” from the company's first attempt at producing a tablet, according to a former Apple employee who chose to remain anonymous.
During Tchao's absence, he has held several positions including general manager of Nike's Techlab. The division helped develop Nike+iPod technology which works in conjunction with Apple's devices.
Rumors suggest an unannounced tablet may be the primary focus of CEO Steve Jobs' efforts since returning from a six month leave of absence. Likely specs still remain unknown, while price expectations range from $500 to $1000. Despite the lack of a formal introduction or confirmed details, a recent RBC survey indicated a fifth of consumers have already expressed interest in buying an Apple tablet.