Google Director Of Project Management RJ Pittman Defects To Apple

The battle between Google and Apple continues. RJ Pittman, a prominent product manager Director of Product Management at Google, has left the company to join Apple. We’ve been tipped off to a tweet he sent out two days ago that said “My last day at Google. Incredible experience. Amazing people. Moved mountains. Next chapter. Hello Apple.” Pittman has since removed the tweet from his Twitter feed, but judging by the tweets still visible in Twitter search, it’s true. Update: This post originally said Pittman was a Product Manager, but his title was in fact Director of Product Management.

We’ve also received an email that Pittman  sent to his coworkers and friends about the move (we’ve redacted a paragraph about hanging out with his family during his time off):

Yesterday was my last day directing traffic at Google. It has been an incredible ride, and an amazing experience. Google is one of the most fascinating companies to work for. Working at Google scale is pretty incredible and the people are one of a kind, to say the least. It’s been an amazing 3 years of my career. It was very hard to say goodbye to all the people I call family at the Googleplex around the world. The company afforded me the opportunity to be ‘me’ inside the walls of a 20,000 person company that generates $20B in revenue. For that, I will always be grateful. I learned so much about the world, our users, and most of all…me. I left with a very heavy heart yesterday. Leaving was much harder that I expected. Admittedly, I’m feeling a bit useless today, my first day as a Xoogler. But I’m hoping this feeling will wear off soon. (Noogler is our term for a newly hired Googler, and Xooglers are the band of ex-Google alumni)

I was sprung from Google by a little company down the road that you might have heard of called Apple. Some might say I owe most of my career in technology to a little start up company that created the computer that I first learned to program, the Apple II, in 1980. By 1984, my life would be changed forever with the introduction of the most revolutionary creation of the decade, the Macintosh. A year later I would find myself spending more time with my first Mac than any other living being for my foreseeable teenage future. I’ve owned almost one of every Apple product released since then, and still own my first Mac that started it all some 25 years ago. In a strange but not so strange way, this is a sort of homecoming for me, despite never having worked for Apple. Life works in curious ways, and I love it when every so often it comes full circle. I couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead. They’ve created a pretty neat role for me, which I will be able to talk about soon after I’ve started working there.

It’s unclear exactly what project Pittman is working on (his email only says that it’s a “pretty neat role for me”) and there’s little chance Apple’s PR team is going to give us any guidance. That said, my hunch is that he was recruited at the behest of the Lala team.

Apple acquired the streaming music service in December, less than two months after Google and Lala worked in tandem to launch Google OneBox Music Search. Pittman was one of the key players on that project, and worked closely with Lala to get it off the ground.

That said, Apple could be after his other talents — Pittman had previously presented at the launches of other search-related products, including a Google Labs event. And before that, he founded Groxis.

We’d previously heard that Google and Apple had a gentlemen’s agreement not to poach each other’s employees. Obviously, that’s no longer the case.