Apple to Maps manager Williamson: Get lost

“Now that Apple SVP Eddy Cue has had some time to assess the debacle that was the iOS 6 Maps launch, he’s taking decisive steps to make sure it never happens again,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD.

“He has fired Rich Williamson, the guy who oversaw the development of Apple’s mobile mapping software, which launched with enough flaws to prompt a public apology from CEO Tim Cook.,” Paczkowski reports. “Williamson’s sacking follows the high-profile ouster of former iOS software chief Scott Forstall, who was pushed out of the company over the troubled Maps rollout, among other things.”

Read more in the full article here.

Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg, “Cue, who took over last month as part of a management shakeup, is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts and prodding digital maps provider TomTom NV to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.”

“In removing Williamson, Cue wants to install a new leadership team for the group, one person said. A replacement for Williamson wasn’t immediately known,” Satariano reports. “A team at Apple has been working to fix the mapping mistakes, focusing first on some of the most glaring problems, one person said. The satellite imagery over the U.K. has been improved and labels for popular U.S. landmarks such as the Washington Monument have been corrected.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What we wrote back on September 28, 2012:

One thing we would like to know is: Who’s responsible for opening Apple up to this overblown shitstorm and why are they still working for Apple Inc., if they still are?

…No matter what Apple does, no matter how much better they make Apple Maps, it will now always “suck” in the minds of a large segment of the population… The fool(s) responsible for preparing Maps for release and then releasing it with obvious issues (overblown as they are) and therefore tainting Maps forever should face severe consequences. As in: Pink slip(s). If you don’t get fired over this debacle, what exactly does get you fired at Tim Cook’s Apple?

Here’s a little hint for the future: Everything that requires widespread customer use to develop a rich database before the product becomes fully usable should be clearly labelled “beta” upon release. Apple did it with Siri, but they forgot to do it with Maps. Had Apple been smart enough to simply place a “beta” tag on Maps, all of this rigamarole would never have occurred.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Mark W.,” “Mike H.,” “JES42,” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
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

40 Comments

    1. Then you haven’t been using it beyond a very limited scope. There *are* issues, some but not all of them are overblown.

      “Whiners”? Please. Try “demanding quality” and “having high standards”–that’s defined the majority of Apple users for years. Windows users take it laying down.

      1. Well spoken. I wonder why MDN defends such a screw up? Can you imagine if Microsoft had done something this bad? Fanboys would still be laughing. Sure this asshole should have been fired weeks ago but what about the people above him? He isn’t the CEO. This wasn’t some minor release either, this was huge. I mean they dumped Google maps! Yeah, that’s not minor that’s major! So people above this knucklehead had to have been aware of its quality and competence. I guess you can’t get the guys in the executive washroom? Oh wait, there was Scott……….

    2. No, “a ‘beta’ tag on Maps” was not going to work. Apple needed to dump Google prior to the iOS 6 release. (It should have happened much sooner.)

      It needed to be done and should have had a clear and encouraged “User Edit Period” where anyone could add or correct an address or location. If caught screwing around, all prior and future edits would be blocked for that user. If this were to be done, all the addresses and locations would be fixed in one week. This would have been viewed by all as the world’s biggest mapping project and everyone would have had fun helping “Map Their World”!

      Still could do this. Opportunities are often overlooked and sometimes easily corrected!

    3. Whiners? Like people who depend on public transportation? Apple’s Maps will, if you touch the Bus button, open the Apps Store and refer you to commercial solutions and third-party apps to provide what information you need. Is that the sort of quality and level of service we should expect from an Apple product?

  1. MDN’s take is right. I bet if SJ was to respond, he would acknowledge it as a successful launch and tour the great features of Maps rather than apologize.

    Personally, I think it is one of my favorite apps to use on the iPhone. I can’t wait until it is available on OS-X.

  2. I started using the new IOS Maps recently. I live in Ohio. My experience has been totally positive. The Maps are far superior to Google Maps. Excellent graphics. SIRI support is excellent. I have heard other less good results out of the states but my experience has been exactly what Daniel Eean Dilger lead me to expect – pure satisfaction. No shitstorm here.

    1. Works great for me here in NJ also. Love how quick the maps load and zoom with the vector graphics. They do lag Google maps on points of interest

      Also, highly annoying, for some reason the maps don’t show exit numbers on major highways.

      1. NJ, California. Give us a break! That’s about .05% of the earth’s surface, if that. Apple positions itself as a global business and makes a significant proportion of it’s sales and profits outside the good ‘ol US of A. Just because it happens to work in a few US states doesn’t mean it works well elsewhere.

        1. No mapping solution is flawless everywhere on Earth and none are likely to exist in the near term future. That said Apple maps is a vast improvement in iOS 6 over the previous Googke solution in many areas. For those areas where Google was better, there is a web page that will work until Apple maps covers your area.

          Or there are many 3rd party mapping Apps.

        2. In country Western Australia I have had better success than EVERY other map provider.

          Recently I was looking for a quarry and tried Bing, Yahoo, Google and Tom Tom. Searched for hours never even thought about Apple maps. But you guessed it, when I plugged in the road (even with wrong spelling) there it was…

          It’s just missing speed and time of arrival info and ability to plan routes with a number of stops and you’ve got a killer app! I still use the $80 Tom Tom app for these features but Maps is an amazing tool

  3. Apple’s problem is that the meme “Apple Maps are crap” is getting baked into the public consciousness. They risk the same thing that happened with the Newton: it became a laughingstock because of its poor handwriting recognition, and when that feature was fixed, no one noticed.

    I have been using Apple Maps regularly to find my way from point A to point B, and to find simple things like gas stations and restaurants. I have had zero issues. I know there are problems, but my guess is that, by now, they don’t affect the vast majority of users. But none of that matters if “Apple Maps are crap” is just something the public accepts as common knowledge.

    If I was in charge at Apple, I’d make a few minor improvements to the Maps app, and then make a big deal of announcing “Maps 2.0!!” It would force the public to take a second look at this “new” Maps application and recognize that most problems are gone.

    “Wow,” they would say. “Version 2.0 is so much more problem-free!”, not realizing the problems had been ironed out long ago and they just weren’t paying attention.

    ——RM

    1. “Apple Maps are crap” is already baked into the public consciousness- and deservedly so.

      Apple positions itself as a premium product that ‘just works’. Well Apple’s Map app sucks as does the podcast app, the iTunes app, the iTunes U app on iOS 6.

      Also, the Bluetooth audio on the iPhone 5 sounds more brittle, siblant and distorted than on my iPhone 4. Maybe it’s HW, maybe SW- it’s still a step backward.

      In the Mac sense, both Lion and Mountain Lion were downgrades from Snow Leopard. The new Pro apps are not ready for Prime Time and the HW is fashion over function.

      1. So you’re an Android user.

        If you think it is so god damn easy to create something new and distribute it to a global market then prove it and do it.

        ONLY then can you moan how crap things are.

        No go away little boy and play with your toys in your pram.

      2. This sucks, that sucks, everything sucks. Whatever. I base my opinions of a thing on my actual experience using the thing, and so far, my Apple Maps experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

        ——RM

        1. Apple is in decline and out of control. It’s not about hating Apple- I’m a long time customer and shareholder- it’s about being truthful.

          Apple is getting run over and the fanbois in the bubble are like Romney supporters right up until the election in the bag wasn’t.

          1. Funny you should bring up politics, because in the world of political blogs, we call folks like you “concern trolls”. Always “OH NOEZ, THE SKY IS FALLING.”

            No one’s denying that Apple’s made mistakes. Most of us just keep a sense of proportion about the severity of those mistakes and have confidence in Apple’s ability to fix them.

            I’m sorry, but I just can’t be concerned about a Maps application that is working just fine for me.

            ——RM

  4. I find the apple ios6 troublesome, they are inaccurate and no where near as good as google maps. At least apple takes responsibility when it screws up, scott forstall and now this person got fired. And apple maps will get better in the future. Unlike apple, microsoft dont hold thier incompetent managers responsible, the fact that steve ballmer is CEO is proof of that.

  5. If Apple had placed a “Beta” tag on the Maps app (and yes, I still believe they should have) then Apple would not have been able dump the Apple/Google map.

    That may be why Scott Forstall did it.

  6. Part of the blame has to go to whoever chose to rely on TomTom data for Apple Maps. Some San Francisco neighborhoods are labeled with names that no San Francisco resident has ever heard of. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.

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