Jeff Robbin

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Jeff Robbin
Occupationcomputer engineer
software developer
EmployerApple, Inc.
Known forSoundJam MP
TitleVice President, Consumer Applications

Jeffrey L. "Jeff" Robbin is the vice president of consumer applications at Apple, Inc. He is a US computer engineer and entrepreneur notable for creating the MP3 player SoundJam MP with Bill Kincaid that was eventually bought by Apple and renamed iTunes. He remains the lead software designer for iTunes.

Robbin and Kincaid worked for Apple in the 1990s as system software engineers on their operating system project Copland; the project was later abandoned. Both left Apple, where Robbin created Conflict Catcher and Kincaid worked at a startup.

After listening to a show on the radio channel NPR, Kincaid created hardware and device driver support for the Diamond Rio line of digital audio players. He then enlisted Jeff Robbin to develop the front-end for an MP3-playing software they named SoundJam MP. Dave Heller completed the core team. The three chose Casady & Greene as distributor, whom Robbin had previously worked with to distribute Conflict Catcher.

The software saw early success in the Mac music player market, competing with Panic's Audion. "We got [SoundJam] to pretty much be the premiere MP3 player on the Mac," said Robin Casady, co-owner of Casady & Greene.[1]

In early 2000 Apple was looking to purchase an MP3 player and approached both Casady & Greene (SoundJam) and Panic (Audion). Because Panic was caught up in negotiations with AOL, their meeting with Apple never took place.[2] Instead, Apple purchased SoundJam MP in a deal covered by a two-year secrecy clause.[3]

SoundJam MP was renamed iTunes. Robbin, Kincaid, and Heller moved to Apple as the founding developers of iTunes. All three continue to work at Apple, with Robbin as the current lead developer of iTunes.[4][5]

Robbin was also involved in developing the iPod, as co-lead of the initial iPod team with Tony Fadell and acting as lead developer of the initial iPod firmware.

Although Robbin's role has been published in a number of articles that have disclosed his name and role, an October 16, 2005 article in TIME claimed that Steve Jobs had prohibited the magazine from publishing Robbin's last name, explaining that Steve was worried about competitors "poaching his talent".[6]


  1. ^ Knopper, Steve. Appetite for self-destruction: the spectacular crash of the record industry. Simon and Schuster, 2009.
  2. ^ The True Story of Audion
  3. ^ Think Secret - WSJ: Casady & Greene "forbidden" from discussing iTunes deal
  4. ^ Wired, Straight Dope on the IPod's Birth
  5. ^ CNNMoney, How Big Can Apple Get"
  6. ^ TIME, How Apple Does It, Oct. 16, 2005

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