Apple's vice president of worldwide developer relations Clent Richardson is leaving Apple, reports claim.

He is leaving at a crucial time for the company. The recent launch of Mac OS X means Apple is more reliant on its developers than ever, as it needs applications and peripherals to be X-ed up in order to succeed with its new operating system.

Mac OS X does support older applications in its Classic mode, but to encourage its users to migrate to the new OS, third-party developers must quickly bring Carbonized products to market to make the move worthwhile.

The developer relations team is the primary point of contact for third-party developers. Richardson joined Apple as VP of developer relations in January 1998. He came from Mac developer Design Intelligence. He left the company once before in April 1997 - at the time he was senior manager of evangelism.

MacCentral reports that Richardson is to take a post at One 2 One, the UK-based mobile phone company. One 2 One is a subsidiary of Deutche Telekom.