Tony Fadell: Scott Forstall ‘got what he deserved’

“Tony Fadell is one of Silicon Valley’s biggest names. He’s known as the ‘father of the iPod’ for his work on the first 18 generations of Apple’s music player and was also involved in the hardware design of the original iPhone,” Leo Kelion reports for BBC News. “Since cutting ties with the firm in 2010 he’s set up Nest – a smart-thermostat that looks like nothing else on the market.”

“But let’s put his achievements aside for a moment and pinch-and-zoom into the ousting of a man portrayed as his nemesis: Scott Forstall,” Kelion reports. “In 2011 Businessweek magazine ran an article which said the two men had repeatedly clashed at Apple with Mr Forstall – the iPhone software chief – raiding his colleague’s team for talent, creating an ‘explosive’ climate in which the two argued over credit, attention and resources before Mr Fadell ultimately quit.”

Kelion reports, “So what does he make of the news that Mr Forstall lost his post in October after reports of rifts with other executives and a refusal to apologise for the release of a flawed Maps app. ‘Scott got what he deserved,’ Mr Fadell told the BBC. When pressed, he adds: ‘I think what happened just a few weeks back was deserved and justified and it happened.'”

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Kelion reports, “‘If you read some of the reports, people were cheering in Cupertino when that event happened,’ he answers, referring to Apple headquarters in California. ‘So, I think Apple is in a great space, it has great products and there are amazing people at the company, and those people actually have a chance to have a firm footing now and continue the legacy Steve [Jobs] left.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: By most credible accounts, Forstall was a cancer that Tim Cook was right to excise.

Related articles:
Un-retired: Why Bob Mansfield is back at Apple in a big way – November 1, 2012
Apple: Forstall pushed out by Cook, source says; news met with ‘quiet jubilation’ inside Apple – October 30, 2012
Now the real Jony Ive era begins at Apple Inc. – October 30, 2012
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

47 Comments

  1. It’s not difficult to imagine battling egos at Apple. It happens everywhere in every business and organization. It’s just that when it happens at Apple in makes news.

    1. I think it’s quite possible Tim Cook KNEW Maps wasn’t quite ready and let it be released so he could have the final excuse to fire Forstall. I know that smacks of conspiracy theory which I am usually abhor to bring up but in this case Tim may have thought he needed to resort to an extraordinary solution to the Scott problem, even if it tarnished the companies reputation a bit. I will admit of all the Apple guys giving presentations Mr. Forstal left me feeling the most on the uneasy side.

      1. Tim Cook would not allow Maps to be released if he had confirmation that Maps was not ready for release. Forstall deceived Cook insisting Maps was “Good to go.” when it wasn’t. Tim made a public apology for Apple and Forstall did not reciprocate. There was no conspiracy. Forstall dug his own grave. That is all.

    1. Don’t confuse personality with effectiveness. Forstall obviously did some good things, otherwise he would not have lasted as long as he did. Perhaps it is better for the long-term good of Apple that Forstall’s corrosive demeanor be removed, but it is poor taste to judge from afar. Steve could be a real dick too.

      Speaking of effectiveness, I’d like to see a sensible assessment of how Time Cook is earning the compensation that has been heaped on him. The past two years have had way too many supply chain f-ups, and Tim is supposed to be a logistical genius. Hardware innovation has been hit and miss under Tim, and most would agree that the software side of the house has been laying one egg after another.

      Anyone rushing out to buy a new copy of iWork ’09?

      Anyone seriously expecting to be able to get a new iMac under the xmas tree this year?

      How’s the sale of the me-too iPad mini? Better or worse than Surfaces?

      A bit of serious introspection is long overdue in the Apple corporate offices. It’s not enough to have a happy personality. You must execute well.

      1. I think most of the supplier issues have not been caused by Tim Cook but by the suppliers themselves having way too much optimism in terms of how many components they can turn out in a timely fashion. It’s an optimism falling flat on it’s realistic face as old as the human race. Happens all the time in the film & TV biz.

        1. Cause of problem is not the issue. Developing solid plans that can be executed is what an executive is responsible to do.

          Reckless outsourcing manifests itself in slipped schedules and/or limited product supply, essentially shrinking margins and tarnishing the company’s reputation for delivering on time, all while giving competitors an opening.

          Does anyone believe that Cook has demonstrated performance on par with his salary?

          1. Apple was not flawless under Steve Jobs, not hardware and not software. Cook is a genious and there are no more supply chain problems now than under Jobs and volumes are astronomically higher. I’d say that alone is worth far more than Cook’s salary. He got rid of the ill advised retail bafoon hire, and managed the Forestall issue decisively while strengthening the chain of command.

            The list of issues you listed are neither clearly outlined, nor unique to the post Jobs era.

            1. I guess my idea of “genius” is different than yours.

              Also, the number of people at Apple under Steve was far fewer than it is today. With the additional company bloat has not come better software quality or more timely product releases. Apple has the resources to do far better.

              No 27″ iMac for Christmas this year? Clearly a screw up.

              iOS Maps? Clearly a screw up.

              iWork? not good enough.

              How many specific examples would you like?

      2. Image how much more effective things could have been without Forstall! Effectiveness can easily be replaced.

        Steve Jobs may have been arrogant in some ways, but it was totally justified. He could back up all his actions with his bold vision and relentless pursuit of perfection. With Forstall, he’s arrogant for the sake of arrogance. He’s empty and shallow inside.

    2. He got OS X done and iOS done, Siri, AND Maps, while so many other companies are having trouble getting anything done Rim, Google, HP, Nokia, Microsoft, the iPhone and iPad are big fat cash cows, if Tony had Scott trouble where were Steve Jobs and Tim Cook at the time?

  2. I always liked his stage presence. I thought he had a hint of Steve in him. Had a bit of humor and passion for what he was presenting.

    It’s to bad…he did put his all into iOS. But if Tim Cook wanted him to sign the apology and he refused, well then I trust Tim. He knows better than us.

  3. Only a few months back (as recently as the last product announcement, in October, for the iPhone 5, iPad mini, new iMac, etc), many (if not even majority) of comments here were praising Forstall’s stage presence and delivery. And that wasn’t new; ever since Steve took leave and Forstall begun presenting more, people here have heaped admiration on the guy who had the presence and charisma to one day possibly replace Steve.

    I’m curious, is anyone now willing to step up and admit that they may have been wrong…?

    1. No, not all all. I believe he should still be at Apple.

      I’ll take it a step further, the things he worked on during his entire time at Apple mean more to me than Ive’s contributions. I could care less how thin it is, how it is manufactured.

      It’s the OS’s that keeps me in Apple kit. Slap anything else on Ive’s hardware and it is just pretty metal.

      We shall see what Ive does moving forward. It should be interesting to see.

      Fadell is also the one who lost to Scott, he wanted a click wheel on the iPhone. Steve liked Scott’s concepts more. Fadell soon left to build thermostats. Just saying..

      By all accounts Scott was a huge dick, but so was Steve. I cannot find much to dislike about the outcome of either man’s work at Apple. I’d say OS X and the wild success iOS were directly tied to both. It seems likely to me that both will eventually be missed.

      1. If you read the full article, you’d see that Fadell did not want a “click wheel on the iPhone.” Make fun of Nest all you want, Tony’s making millions on an excellent, money-saving, good-for-the-environment product.

        1. I made fun of no-one, I simply pointed out that he was in direct competition with Scott, he lost and left and now makes thermostats. Thank you for the clarification on the click wheel. Reports have been around for a long time to the contrary, and now I know.

          I am not judging NEST at all, by all indications it is a good product. My point was he lost a battle to Scott and then packed up his toys and left the game to build thermostats. Excuse me if I take his opinion with a dose of salt, it seems far from objective given the two’s history.

          1. Sorry, I took your previous comment as belittling Fadell for leaving to go build Nest. I apologize.

            I know some things about Forstall from some people in-the-know. He’s not worth siding with.

            1. Forstall may wander back, from his exile in the wilderness, as a new man with a more Steve like outlook on future miracles.

              But first he must buy an animation studio.

          2. Truth – “Excuse me if I take his opinion with a dose of salt, it seems far from objective given the two’s history.”

            I agree that Fadell’s response was predictable, since he left Apple over his unwillingness to work with Forstall, but that does not mean his perspective should be taken with a grain of salt.  By leaving Apple, Fadell cast the most sincere vote of all against Forstall’s methods; he could have stayed in his job, cashed the big paychecks and bitched from behind the scenes, but instead opted to put his career and future earnings in jeopardy rather than work with Forstall.  His willingness to pay such a price adds weight to his opinion.

            1. Interesting point of view. I think by that time Fadell had made plenty of money and the argument could be made that it wasn’t that risky of a move, he wasn’t going hungry after all. I get where you are coming from though. It is a reasonable point.

              I don’t dispute that Scott appears to have been quite the dick and hard to work with. That seems to be the prevailing story. I just can’t shake the feeling that his ouster was a bad move for Apple. Time will tell. Scott is A level talent, I would not have fired him until I had exhausted all means to facilitate a change in his behavior. Perhaps that is right where Cook was, IDK.

              It is hard to assess with the limited information. How many times was he counseled for this behavior? What steps were taken to help him achieve change? What role did Jobs have in fostering his behavior? Was it condoned when Steve was there? Did Steve fill his head with notions of running Apple? These are questions I have as a shareholder and a leader. Obviously he was very talented, IIRC he was the youngest SVP at Apple. I prefer to understand root cause when correcting issues.

              I’ve been on both ends of this professionally in my life. I have been the disruptive, young, brash, asshole in charge. I burnt bridges. I also had someone I respected step in and tell me what I was and how I was and I made a conscience decision to change, to improve, it served me well.

              I’ve also worked in a job where my boss was a ball busting, confrontational, prick, never satisfied, never complimentary and always expected you to be working, family be damned. I know it sucks the life out of you and after a while you don’t even want to come to work.

              Maybe Scott will write a book and answer these questions someday.

              I do know that I will always value the technologies he played a major role in bringing to my finger tips for all these years and I have no desire to kick the man when he is down. (Unlike many posters here)

            2. I think everyone was able to deal with Scott as long as he performed, but he clearly got ahead of himself with all of the power-grabbing that (allegedly) went on in lieu of innovation. iOS 6 wasn’t special enough, and Maps was being worked on for at least 4 years before its (semi-)flop. From what it sounds like, Forstall engaged in all of the power politics that got Jobs canned from Apple. Rather than focus on the team and what the team was going to accomplish together, it became all about him. That’s why he had to go.

      2. That is a fair take on the whole mess. By the way core of Maps works very well, the back in data of both Siri and Maps is only going to get better, the core however has been built very well and in time people will see how well. That is what is sad about Tim Cook giving in to Geek Rage.

  4. I thought forstall was next in line, I believed the hype. I was losing respect for Cook after some stupid moves last year but now I feel confident, he made it his Apple with his recent moves. My faith is restored.

  5. By most credible accounts, Scott Forstall had many of the same characteristics as Steve Jobs (who was also similarly ousted in his day). Who knows? Once Forstall is tempered in another environment, maybe he’ll return as the new head of Apple? Stranger things have happened there.

    1. Forstall does remind me of a young Jobs. A little grounding and humility will do him good. I think he has the capability to do great things but needs to understand to be a leader you need people believing in you and following you. We’ll see what he does next.

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