Apple CEO Tim Cook executes major management shake-up at world’s most valuable company

“Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook on Monday pushed out the powerful head of the company’s mobile software products group, sources said, in a major management shake-up that also claimed the recently hired chief of the retail stores division,” Poornima Gupta reports for Reuters.

“Scott Forstall, a long-time lieutenant of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was asked to leave following years of friction with other top executives and his recent refusal to take responsibility for the mishandling of the Apple’s much-criticized mapping software, people familiar with the situation said,” Gupta reports. “Sources said Forstall refused to sign a public apology after Apple’s mapping product, which displaced the popular Google Maps on the iPhone and the iPad in September, contained embarrassing errors and drew fierce criticism. Instead, Cook signed the letter last month.”

Gupta reports, “John Browett, who was hired as the company’s retail chief just seven months ago after serving as CEO of U.K. electronics retailer Dixon’s, will also leave Apple. His efforts to improve profits at the stores had alienated employees and sources close to Apple said Cook had concluded he was simply the wrong person for the job. ‘These changes show that Tim Cook is stamping his authority on the business,’ added Ben Wood, analyst with CCS Insight, said. ‘Perhaps disappointed with the Maps issues, Forstall became the scapegoat.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Bullshit. Don’t “analyze” situations or use words whose meanings you do not even remotely understand. A scapegoat is someone blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others. Forstall’s responsibility was to produce a Siri beta and a Maps application that were worthy of the Apple brand. He failed. Miserably. Therefore he is out. That’s what “responsibility” means. It doesn’t mean you get to claim “responsibility,” fsck up repeatedly and get off with apologies – or, in Forstalls’ narcissistic case, not even deigning to sign off on an apology.

Yesterday, Tim Cook excised two festering cancers and Apple Inc. today is much healthier for it.

Gupta reports, “The executive changes hand substantially more responsibility to Jonathan Ive, Apple’s celebrated industrial design chief, who will now oversee both hardware and software design. Eddy Cue, a long-serving executive who runs online products, will take charge of Apple Maps and the Siri voice search software. Craig Federighi, who oversees the OSX software that powers the Macintosh computers, will take charge of the iOS software. The retail stores will report directly to Cook while a search is conducted for a new head of the division.”

“People with knowledge of Apple’s inner workings said Forstall’s departure was years in the making, and came to a head with the Apple Maps incident,” Gupta reports. “Forstall was also considered a hard person to work with, and he alienated other senior executives with his abrasive style, one person familiar with the situation said. This person added that once Jobs passed away, Forstall was left with few defenders at the top of the company.”

“The fate of the executive, who had 1,000 people directly reporting to him, was sealed by the Maps debacle. Even after a public uproar over the shortcomings and widespread calls for Apple to revert to Google Maps, Forstall would not acknowledge the gravity of the problem, a source with knowledge of the matter said,” Gupta reports. “Forstall instead likened the situation to the complaints over the antenna in an earlier iPhone and insisted it would blow over without a public mea culpa, the source said. But Cook disagreed, and issued a public apology with his own signature on it after Fortstall would not go along, the source added… Forstall will serve as an advisor to Cook until his departure.”

MacDailyNews Take: In other words, enjoy these golden handcuffs as a parting gift, lose my number, and you won’t be festooning second-rate apps with faux leather for Google anytime soon, lazy design crutch boy. (Although, with Forstall’s recent record of performance, perhaps it would be wise to let him sign with Google this morning.)

Gupta reports, “Browett, the ousted retail chief, was simply not a good fit for the company, people familiar with the matter said — raising questions about how well the high-profile hire was vetted in the first place. A source familiar with Browett’s hiring said Apple board member Millard Drexler, a legend in consumer retail who is now CEO of J. Crew, did not even meet Browett before he was hired.”

MacDailyNews Take: Browett was a mistake. Cook has acknowledged it. We expect he’ll learn from it. Moving on.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sixteen hours later, we’re still giving a big standing O to Apple CEO Tim Cook and his big brass balls!

Tim, we hoped you had it in you – and now we know for sure that you do. Steve Jobs chose well. Very, very well!

Related articles:
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Apple software designers sick of doing things Scott Forstall’s way; ‘civil war’ said breaking out – October 10, 2012
Tim Cook open letter: We fell short with new Maps app; we are extremely sorry – September 28, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012

An Apple CEO-in-waiting, Scott Forstall, sells 95% of his company shares – May 2, 2012

71 Comments

    1. Not quite; MDN’s comment is on the point. Obviously, Forstall’s departure is not consequence of such trivial matters as refusing to sign apology letter.

      The more so apology letter was never meant to be signed by anyone else rather than Cook, as overall responsible person. Even Jobs wrote apology letter himself in 2007 for quickly dropping iPhone prices and apologised for MobileMe himself — no one else apologised at Apple for anything of that.

  1. Responsibility = person who does the work (e.g. the soldier)
    Accountability = the person who is responsible for making the work is done sucsessfully(e.g. The general)

    Cook is accountable, so he signs the letter and he also takes steps to make sure he is successful next time. He can change the process, or change the people. If the people won’t change, he can find people who will.

    All companies large and small have management shakeup when the CEO changes. It’s part of the politics of business.

    1. If the person who is “responsible” does not also bear “accountability” (at least internal to the corporate structure), then there is something wrong. Cook signing the letter of apology with respect to external accountability is one thing. But the person doing the work has to share accountability within the system, or it will fail.

  2. Forstall’s departure had more to do with not having friends than the Maps debacle.
    He did, after all, manage to bring us iOS. No small feat. So, he wasn’t useless at the company.
    If Apple can’t handle the likes of Forstall (and probably glad Jobs is gone as well) then maybe Apple is just getting soft and preparing to coast here on out.

    1. And before that Aqua, and later Leopard (the first decent big cat shipped)

      and the app store, and the SDK and he successfully argued against the awful click wheel design iphone prototype.

      Scott was no slouch, he was just an asshole with no allies after Steve passed.

    2. In every organization, there are individuals who are high performers under one leader who fail miserably under other leaders or on their own. It could be that Jobs’ long time relationship with Forstall allowed Jobs to guide him and get the best out of him, and that under Cook, that relationship just wasn’t there.

      I have a strong feeling that Forstall’s high-profile fsck-ups wouldn’t have happened under Jobs. Jobs would have seen them coming and exerted his influence on Forstall to prevent the disaster.

      Short version: Forstall + Jobs was a good fit. Forstall w/o Jobs, not so much.

      ——RM

      1. That makes a lot of sense, LordRobin. I think that you flagged a key consideration – the working relationship between Jobs and Forstall.

        Incidentally, it was not all that long ago that some people on this forum were promoting Forstall over Cook as CEO. Hindsight indicates that would have been a big mistake.

        1. Disagree, Cook is merely protecting his position as the next CEO in line would have been Scott.

          Neither man on their own can replace Jobs… both were needed to balance the company.

          Summary, IOS 7 will be a pile of adobe crap.

    1. Oh Chucky, talk about cancerous,have you looked in the microsoft, android, whatever you drool over mirror along with all your friends? Go ahead, get up on the step stool so you can see yourself. Good boy. Now get your glass of warm milk and go back to bed.

    1. Me too. I’m actually a fan of skeuomorphism in the way that Apple uses it. I like it better than some “high tech” trying to be cool pseudo alien look.

      I can understand the argument that it does in some ways limit the UI, but it also makes the UI very familiar to everyone.

      I’m now jumping on the “I hate skeuomorphs!” bandwagon.

        1. Freudian slip? 😛

          I’m okay with skeuomorphism… as long as 1) it doesn’t interfere with an efficient, functional computer interface, or 2) if there *is* some interference, e.g. to help newbies get used to the system, give more experienced/advanced users the option to disable it.

          Unfortunately there’s a few too many that don’t meet either requirement. iOS and now Mac OS X has a lot of post-tap-action animations (e.g. delete email, launch/close app, OSX Calendar page curl when flipping months, etc) which provide nice visual cues for the newbie, but get tired pretty quickly. One jailbreak utility I miss sped up every animation time so they only took half the time.

          The original Quicktime 4 Player’s volume wheel is an older but perfect example of skeuomorphism taken too far, and shoe-horning in UI elements where they’re totally inappropriate (sound familiar? Microsoft’s doing it right now with Windows 8).

    2. Me too. I love the “faux leather” calender and all the other skeuomorphisms in iOS and Mac OS. Its what gives the UI an artful look and feel and sets it apart from Windose. MDN’s poll on skeuomorphisms confirmed this. It also makes it feel more human. I feel “enveloped” by the OS when I sit in front of my MBP 17″.

      1. And if he does Apple has problems.

        I hope to god that he remains as a consultant at Apple. Pay him shit load of money, lock him in to Apple and don’t let the vultures at google get hold of him.

      1. I always thought of Scott as the one guy at Apple I’d most love to punch in the mouth. He had an air of entitlement and arrogance, but no corresponding air of wisdom or perspective. That’s from the outside, but he always rubbed me the wrong way in those keynotes. I was glad he didn’t become CEO, and I’m not sorry he’s gone.

        That said, I do feel gratitude for the work he accomplished at Apple. I love my iPhone and I always have. He’s obviously a genius in certain areas.

        My prayer is that he wizens up. I suggest spending 10-21 days in a silent retreat followed immediately by no fewer than two months serving the world’s sickest, poorest and most forgotten, probably in India. Serve them by hand, Scott.

        That’s for wisdom. As for what’s next, it’s simple: Change the world. You, more than most, know exactly how to do it.

        1. @Nerd
          What you call “entitlement and arrogance” I call confidence. And boy did he got it and boy did he deserve it. I always liked his keynote presentations just because of his confidence. 100% solid. If this firing is true its a major major blow to Apple and I personally will have less respect for it and Tim’s ability run it. If Scott is fires Gooe will pick him up in a heart beat giving Apple another blow. If this is true its really really bad news for Apple and all of use Apple fans.

  3. Hey Chuck! U should think hard before u upChuck your silliness again! Our one-dimensional view of technology happens to be leading the world with the best of the best! Don’t be a hater!

    1. Yep – think youre right there.

      Steve had his vision, Tim has his own vision where the comapny is going.

      As long as Apple keeps creating amazing products, that are simple to use, are cool, and put the customers first then I cant see a problem.

      Apple needs another ‘big thing’ within the next few years though (how about redefining the keyboard by embedding a laser keyboard into all macs that is projected from the mac?

      Laser keyboards are really cool

    2. That’s a vary salient point. And Tim can’t have dissension right now. Disagreement, yes. Dissension, no. Until his vision takes hold and is wildly successful, dissension equals undermining, backstabbing and all the other petty behaviors that sink companies. Scott needed to adopt a different approach to getting his ideas across. He didn’t, and he’s now on a one-year contract that gives Apple probably two years of non-compete.

  4. I seem to remember MDN defending the Maps ap.
    Perhaps I misremember though.
    I’m not living in Los Angeles but I used it in L.A. the other day and it did work quite well. I have paper directions with me to monitor Maps and be sure it took me to the right place. It was perfect. But that has not been the case back home…

      1. Agree with ya KingMel, MDN is expressing Tim has balls to finally fire people.

        However, Apple should vote Cook out. As CEO everything is signed off by Tim. It is Cook who needs to step down and return to his previous role.

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