Why the hell would Apple terminate AppleScript and Automator guru Sal Soghoian?

“Veteran Mac users across the developer and pro communities are reeling at the news that Sal Soghoian’s position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies at Apple has been terminated, after nearly twenty years at the company,” Jonny Evans writes reports for Computerworld.

“Soghoian announced his news in a note on his website and in public at the MacTech Conference in LA yesterday,” Evans reports. “‘I joined Apple in January of 1997, almost twenty years ago, because of my profound belief that ‘the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.’ That credo remains my truth to this day. Recently, I was informed that my position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons. Consequently, I am no longer employed by Apple Inc. But, I still believe my credo to be as true today as ever,’ he wrote.”

Sal Soghoian at Macworld Expo, January 2009
Sal Soghoian at Macworld Expo, January 2009
“Soghoian was in charge of macOS user automation technologies. These are powerful tools,” Evans writes. “Apple’s decision to axe Soghoian’s role suggests the company has no further interest in developing user scriptable tools, which will do nothing to negate concerns at the company’s future in the professional markets.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is awful, worrying news and yet another issue of concern for Mac professionals.

We first attended a workshop run by Sal back at a Macworld NYC in the late 1990s. Sal was fun and informative always! Apple has lost an unmatched, always-enthusiastic evangelist.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Sal!

39 Comments

    1. im cliping this from another post i made… though not directly related …it somewhat fits the issues .

      Im concered as many are..
      I write Apple .. constantly… voicing all these issues and concerns..
      I know sometimes they listen.. but if they hear us is a totaly different matter….

      2017, critical year for my assessment…. they better blow us away with some serious macs and couple more surprises… … and im not including iphone8 there. thats expected.
      If the Igore batterycase (and alike listed in my other post ) mentality keeps poping up in other new products… ill be very close to moving camps.
      Sorry Jonny … but im starting to develope a dislike for you… and getting fedup with your narrated videos and BS….
      Its not the Suave narration in soft voice and British accent that makes the product…….. these presentations are sounding like brocken records now….( its like sigh . there we go another Jonny thing again )

      Give us UNCOMPROMIZED state of the art , ergonomic/productive and beautiful products! Not Hot Air !

      APPLE cant charge a premium while not delivering best in all Ways and Fronts..
      From MacBooks to iMacs to MAC PRO.. to iPhones and IPad s.. to seriois capable os-s .

      APPLE PREMUM HAS TO DELIVER THE BEST IN EVERY SHAPE AND FORM WITH NO IDIOSYNCRATIC LIMITATIONS AND BS!

      I suggest all those who have real concerns to bombard apple with their thoughts !

      1. Sir Jonathan always sounds like he has one hand in his pants when he records those videos. My Mac Pro is a classic case of design over function. It’s a tangled mess of cables and attached parephernalia and it illustrates everything that’s wrong in Apple today.

        I am a Mac guy. Just. I loathe the cut-down painful-to-use iOS and my Apple TV is in a box.

        I may have bought my last Apple device.

  1. When the beancounters take over all they know is how to squeeze the last penny out of a product that “Engineers” developed. The Engineers are slowly sacked or leave of their own volition because they have no inclination to stay at such a shortsighted company.

    That, my friends, is what Apple is becoming today. It is truly heart wrenching to see this happen. It makes me really sick in the stomach.

    1. Apple is a design-led culture, not an engineering-led culture. Jony Ive and his industrial design group are the ones really in charge at Apple, not bean counters. If you read Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, even SJ states he left Jony Ive with the most operational power, even more than Tim Cook.

      It’s Jony Ive’s Apple. Has been since Steve passed away.

      1. Proof positive that Steve Jobs made two wrong calls — picking Isaacson as his biographer (worst book ever) and leaving Jonny with that much power, seeing as how Jonny isn’t a product guy. Decent industrial designer, but absolutely mis-picked when it comes to understanding products.

        Particularly considering that Jonny, lately, is barely coasting along and phoning in ‘new’ designs, while keeping Mark Newsom muzzled.

      2. Ivy is a perfectionist which is why, I think, Apple is slow to release new product categories. They could have really great, groundbreaking products on the shelf because one little detail wasn’t “quite there yet.” I’m not suggesting they release half-baked products but they do seem trigger shy. The original iPhone wasn’t completely ready. It didn’t allow Apps!

      3. Designers turn every day to engineers to provide solutions to their design needs.

        Some designer asked some engineer how he could make different colored marks on the cave wall. To make his quill draw more evenly and without dipping. To sharpen his pencil faster. To let him control his drawing with a pen-shaped tool instead of a flat mouse. To let him draw directly on his screen instead of an abstracted tablet surface. And so on.

        No such thing as design without engineering.

        1. Read again what I said. I said Apple is a design-led culture. I never said there is no design without engineering or that engineering is not involved. What design-led culture means is that the over-arching vision in terms of what products get released, what features they will have, and how they will look like, starts with the Industrial Design group.

          If you think of the solar system analogy, The ID group is the sun and the rest of the organization are the planets that revolve around that.

  2. This is bad. Really bad. I’d really like to see Apple invest more in AppleScript and Automator. I can’t imagine how I would do so many things in macOS without AppleScript. It’s one of the highest things on my list keeping me in the Apple ecosystem.

    But what really makes this news so bad is that it needs someone like Sal Soghoian to keep it fun/magical.

  3. Two quotes from Steve Jobs worth remembering :

    “Jobs…had the entrepreneurial impulse to put engineers above bean counters in the corporate hierarchy. As Jobs told Isaacson, ‘My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products. But the products, not the profits, were the motivation. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything. The people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings.’ “

    Ponder this quote from Steve Jobs if you remember nothing else from this posting:

    “I don’t think it’s good that we’re perceived as different, I think it’s important we’re perceived as MUCH BETTER. If being different is essential to doing that, then we have to do that, but if we could be much better without being different, that’ll be fine with me. I want to be much better! I don’t care about being different, but we’ll have to be different in some ways to be much better.” ~ Steve Jobs, Apple WWDC closing keynote, 1997

    1. “Ponder this quote from Steve Jobs if you remember nothing else from this posting:” I will remember it, that might be one of the most important things he ever said.

      Especially at this time when Apple seems to be in the change for the sake of change mode.

      Good change is good, bad change is bad.

  4. Another big company apparently just slashing indiscriminately. If the guy was a royal fuck off, had not contributed diddle squat and had bad attitude, well fire his ass (but then question arises, why did you keep him so long). Senior managers compensation should be based on how many people you terminated because you didn’t need them any longer. If you want to make the big bucks, then take some responsibility for the people you hire! Firing people is just too damn easy and a lazy ass excuse for managerial incompetence.

    1. ….
      But, you see, they didn’t fire him. It was just that his position was eliminated. That’s all. (snark).

      II’m sure there’s more to this than this single side of the story, as Apple usually would transfer someone to a different position, or allow them to hang around until retirement. Heck, even Google moved an incompetent rube like Andy Rubin (who cost them $10 billion dollars in losses) into an inactive post until he found ways to ‘move on’ — or Apple keeping Scott Forstall around, despite ‘firing’ him.

      My guess is that Sal talked back to the wrong person.

  5. Steve Jobs told Tim Cook to not be bogged down by considering “what would Steve do” – well, while Steve was right (“do what is right, not what I would do”) Apple is reaching a point where, just maybe, they should start considering again what Steve would do, and jettison the pure bean counters mentality.

    Apple is quickly becoming the pre-Jobs Apple again (minus the cash hemorrhaging).

  6. Apple is going from top tech company to Ballmer-run Microsoft.

    People always wondered how much of “Tim’s Apple” was simply “Jobs’ Apple coasting” and I think we’re starting to see.

    I don’t want iOS in a Mac. I want a Mac. A computer.

    “An iPad is a computer,” says some, but you know what we mean. An Apple Watch is a computer, too, but that’s still not what we want when we say computer.

    Hopefully we have some plans in the works but, even if so, this seems like a shitty start to them.

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