After Apple Maps went wrong, they had to show Forstall the door it seems…
Scott Forstall, head of iOS software, a long-time Apple veteran and associate of Steve Jobs, appears to have taken the rap for the failure of the Apple Maps application to live up to standard, while John Browett is another surprise departure. Browett only joined the company from the UK’s Dixons group this year to head up worldwide retail activity – but is moving on after less than 12 months.
Sweeping change at Apple?
The two scalps are very different. Forstall (pictured) was a lead architect on Mac OS X, and part of the company’s renaissance when Steve Jobs returned in the late 1990s. Forstall had been at Apple 15 years, having previously worked at Jobs’ NeXT Computer, joining Apple when it bought that company.
Forstall was forced out after he refused to sign a letter apologising for the shortcomings of Apple Maps, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple rushed the sub-standard Apple Maps out with iOS6 to gain independence from Google Maps. A contrite message went out with the signature of chief executive Tim Cook, while Forstall wanted to skip the apology, as Steve Jobs did over the antenna fault on the iPhone 4.
Several reports say he was a close associate of Steve Jobs, who didn’t fit in well with other managers, and complained that since Jobs’ death there was no “decider” in the company, and not enough “big ideas” in the iPhone pipeline.
John Browett, a surprise appointment in the post-Jobs Apple is a different case entirely. His appointment in February was CEO Tim Cook’s first major appointment after the death of Jobs, and raised some eyebrows.
Browett came from the UK’s Dixons Retail chain of stores to head up Apple Stores across the world. Apple praised his commitment to customer service and gave him a $56 million (£36m) “golden hello” payment.
While at Apple he reportedly found it difficult to “fit in”, and made some “errors” including the introduction of new staffing arrangements at Apple Stores, which cut some employees’ hours too much.
Yet in their six months under Browett, Apple store revenues had increased from $4 billion to $4.2bn
Apple made profits of $8.2bn (£5bn) in the fourth quarter, but this was not as high as some Wall Street analysts had predicted, and 14 million iPad sales were lower than expected.
As reported last week, Apple also missed Wall Street forecasts, while the 14 million iPads it sold in the quarter fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Both execs will finish the year at Apple, without actually working on any projects. iPhone designer Jony Ive will take over responsibility for human interface issues across Apple while recently retired Bob Mansfield will return to take charge of wireless, and Siri and Maps will be handed to vice president Eddy Cue.
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