‘Poor planning’ and ‘internal politics’ blamed for largely unchanged Apple Maps in iOS 8

“Apple, during WWDC last week, delivered some significant updates across various parts of its business. It released, among other things, some 4,000 new APIs (and a new programming language) to developers; a renewed, more aggressive effort in cloud services; and some changes across its mobile and desktop operating systems to make them a lot more integrated with the primary way that we use our computing devices these days — to go online and interact with other services,” Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch. “But one area of Apple’s business was nearly nowhere to be found at the main event: Maps.”

“I write ‘nearly’ because it was not an event without any mentions of Maps — Apple gave a quick line to the news that it now offers vector maps and other improvements in China. And there is a feature in iOS 8 that will give venue owners the ability to add more indoor positioning data. But from what we understand this was far from what Apple had intended,” Lunden reports. “‘There were multiple improvements that didn’t make it into iOS8 [sic],’ a source tells us.”

“Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: ‘Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project,'” Lunden reports. “It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. ‘I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,’ the source said.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Back in March, reports popped up that Cathy Edwards, who happen to be in charge of Maps Quality after joining Apple through the company’s acquisition of Chomp,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac. “The reason behind Cathy’s departure was unknown at the time, but we’ve learned from sources that disagreements with employees on the Maps team working under Edwards and an opposition to her management style lead to problems on the Maps team and ultimately her leaving in April.”

Kahn reports, “Apple also lost key Maps team member Jared Waldman from Placebase who worked as Head of Geo at Apple Maps until late last year. In addition, we’ve heard from former employees of the mapping team that recently left the company due to issues with Edwards and management of the Maps team. 9to5Mac has viewed email exchanges between employees regarding several complaints filed about Edwards and requests for investigations by Apple into her treatment of employees.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s ultimately in charge of Maps? Mr. iTunes Radio himself, Eddy Cue.

While basically finished, a source tells us, Apple’s “iTV” languishes in Apple’s labs because Steve Jobs is dead and Eddy can’t get the necessary contracts inked without Steve. The lack of ink is also why Apple needed to spend $3 billion to get Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy’s there to get ink on the dotted line.

Tim Cook needs to be very careful not to fall in love with executives who are not pulling their weight. One highly-placed executive who can’t execute can royally screw up major parts of the company. (See Forstall and Browett.)

Hey, who knows, maybe Eddy will surprise us. It would be very welcome after a string of pretty much nothing beyond some recent PR appearances (Code Conference, a photo op with Tim Cook in Austin) and a string of mediocrity (iTunes Radio, ongoing Maps delays, numerous and ever-changing iOS in the Car initiatives that never seem to go very far) and non-starters (“iTV,” iTunes subscription music service). Sadly, based on the last few years, we’re not expecting to be surprised.

Do your job, Eddy.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Brawndo Drinker” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Cathy Edwards, co-founder of Chomp, leaving Apple – March 25, 2014
Apple buys app search startup Chomp for $50 million – February 24, 2012

Apple insiders: Arrogant Apple managers are the reasons why iTunes Radio sucks, Ping failed, and Apple had to buy Beats – June 5, 2014
Jimmy Iovine: Apple’s new music impresario – May 29, 2014
Apple’s Eddy Cue ‘very pleased’ with iTunes Radio, looks to go international ASAP; more than 100 countries targeted – October 4, 2013
Apple’s Eddy Cue racing to overhaul Maps – November 28, 2012
Apple’s Eddy Cue joins Ferrari board of directors – November 7, 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

32 Comments

  1. Seems like the guys who flourished under Jobs (Forstall,Cue) are just lacking that certain push now that Jobs doesn’t have his foot in their asses. Cook it was nice to fire forstall(very arrogant to not apologize for maps if that was the case) but it seems at least Forstall did well something. Cue seems to be in zombie mode. Poor planning and or poor management should never be the reason an apple product doesn’t get it’s deserved and in some cases needed due.

    1. It could be that. Or it could be that they don’t have the political clout their close association with Jobs brought them. People can be petty and vengeful. Jobs may have preferred them for their talents, skills, ability, creativity, and intelligence. Now they are forced to deal with politics and politics squashes talent, skill, ability, creativity, and intelligence like bugs.

      1. That could very well be the case, TMac. Many people who are good as getting things done have personalities that tend to create friction and resentment in an organization. Some subordinates object to the favoritism (real or perceived) given to the core team surrounding that person, others chafe at the high expectations for performance and success, some feel unappreciated because their leaders tend to focus on people as tools to accomplish a given task and tend to lack critical “people skills.” They obtain their satisfaction from the job and do not understand that some of their subordinates expect and need more than that. If you remove the power base from this type of person, then their peers will begin to oppose and undermine them for a range of reasons…some of them petty and vindictive.

    2. I suspect there’s more to this story of Forstall’s refusal to apologize for Maps. For all we know he did warn Tim Cook it either wasn’t ready or should have been issued as a beta. If so then why would you apologize except to take the heat off the CEO and then end up damaging your own reputation?

      At some point it will probably come out but for now you can be assured Forstall is no doubt under a legal obligation to be quiet about it. Shed no tears for Scott though, he’s set for life.

  2. From an outsider’s perception of my beloved Apple Inc., I do feel that many of the people high up in the company are not really as good as what Apple itself and its products have been delivering to us. For example, I really doubt this Phil and Eddy hats… without Steve Jobs… Ummm.

  3. The fix is obvious. Stealall of Google’s Maps apps, put an Apple logo on them and release them in iOS 8.

    Send a little note to Google saying “Payback is a Bitch”.

  4. That story is referencing a 9to5Mac article that was completely wrong about everything going in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. Fact is there are so many new features going into IOS 8 that there was not enough time to talk about all of them. The new Maps could still be shown when the iPhone 6 is introduced. And the Maps problems are not an application level issues but backend ones that shouldn’t require an iOS upgrade.

    As for the new Apple TV, I doubt even Steve Jobs could have wrangled Hollywood executives to provide content. Hollywood would rather destroy itself than handover its future to technology companies.

    1. The second article references a 9to5Mac report.

      The first article references a TechCrunch report. Ignoring it doesn’t make it disappear. The rest of us can still see it, “Rick.”

    2. As Apple bulldozes forward, cleaving the barren ground of technology and leaving a wake of clods and skulls behind, the paid mullahs continue to abhor and condemn progress, calling it by every name but its own.

    3. Exactly. They still perceive what happened to music industry as a disaster and utter failure (and most of the big five record labels are also movie studios). In their eyes, music industry surrendered their most significant cash-cow (the album as an artificial construct forcing artists to come up with 10-15 songs in order to get published, and shoving 8-13 songs down customers’ throats in order to sell them two hits), and got nothing in return. Never mind that their entire industry was singlehandedly saved by Apple and the iTunes Music Store (when it backstopped the colossal losses to piracy).

      Hollywood is just much luckier than the music industry because they still make bulk of their profit from box office receipts, which, thanks to the massive overseas markets these days, tend to continue to grow. This makes them much more difficult to negotiate, and even Steve would have likely failed.

      1. And where Hollywood is in danger is that it is following the music industry’s past model: Resist the digital age.

        The future of movies is clearly digital. The movie industry is moving more slowly into it simply because it is much more difficult to transfer movies in full HD format than it is to transfer music files in a high enough quality for listeners. But the time is coming.

        Hollywood would be very smart to hitch its wagon to a company like Apple, which currently rents its movies for far more than a Redbox does. And it’s incredibly difficult to pirate a movie rented on AppleTV, whereas I could simply rent a movie from Redbox, rip it, and have unlimited copies to burn myself or upload.

        The movie industry will have to come around at some point, or it will suffer the same fate and the music industry did as download speeds continue to improve.

        1. I would posit that Redbox is a premier source for ThePirateBay.com.

          Hollywood has pretty much switched to digital. Majority of movie theatres in America have already moved to digital projectors, majority of productions are shooting on Alexa or RED in digital formats (increasingly on 4k sensors), all the post-production is done digitally, regardless of acquisition medium, so digital isn’t an issue. It is just optical medium vs. download, and this will not be on Hollywood’s agenda anytime soon. They are making plenty of money on first-run box office, they can afford to just not even bother thinking about this potential threat.

    4. Interesting post Rick!

      There was nothing about Maps in the classes Apple held at WWDC, therefore nothing new for hooking apps into Maps. I suspect that’s why it wasn’t mentioned in the keynote or State of the Union. Again: The point was to talk with developers, NOT to announce new anything to customers, despite analcyst whining to the contrary.

      “Hollywood would rather destroy itself than…”

      This is a repeating theme. The entire media industry/oligarchy refuses to grow up into the 21st century and they ARE indeed destroying themselves when they refuse to listen to their customers and catch up with customer demands. As I think I said a couple years back, there’s going to have to be a generational change in management at these antiquated companies. I’ve watched the rule of geezeristic (as I call it) management at EMI and Kodak. It contributed to their implosions.

      Change is inevitable. All we can control is our choices. Good change is good, so go that direction as best we can. Trying to believe in NO change is hanging yourself from a rope in slow motion.

  5. I love how MDN thinks that Cue should be able to wave a magic wand and make these negotiations happen. lol. Come ON. These TV and film companies don’t WANT to lose their control or change the business model.

    The music industry was on the decline and the publishing industry was being raped by Amazon. They had a strong interest in playing ball with Apple (and thereby changing the game). Why would the television or film industries want to risk their current business model if they don’t have to?

    Iovine may be able to sell it to them. Maybe he can do what Cue can’t. But anyone who thinks that Cue’s job is a cakewalk and he’s just gotten lazy needs to pull their heads out of their asses.

  6. God this is ancient history!

    Stop living in the past, so bloody what apple screwed the launch of maps up for whatever reason.

    I don’t care anyway, maps works fine 99.9% of its user base, move along people.

  7. I suspect that iOS 8 will include upgrades to Apple Maps. If there is some sore of delay, then the upgrades to Maps can be released in an iOS dot update. No big deal. The sky is not falling.

    Apple covered a lot of developer ground during WWDC, including several things that no one appear to anticipate. I think that Tim Cook has learned his lesson about releasing everything at once. The big hardware release a couple of years ago left everyone wanting more just a couple of months later. That gap helped to seed the persistent “Apple is doomed because it lacks innovation” storyline.

    Instead, Apple will offer their new product releases (app-capable AppleTV “console”, iOS devices, Macs and MacBooks, etc.) as a series of special events to keep the media and consumers more continuously engaged rather than giving them a glucose high followed by a crash.

Add Your Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.