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Some employees have already quit after hearing one too many "Steve wouldn't like that" from iOS SVP

In the gaping leadership hole left by the death of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) co-founder and driving force Steven P. Jobs, there's significant questions about who will step up and be the most "Jobsian".  

I. The Disciple Has Borrowed Much From His Former Master

While Apple appointed Tim Cook to succede Mr. Jobs at the CEO spot, the quiet mild-mannered businessman seems an odd cog to replace flashy, obsessive, dictatorial, performance-driven former chief.  But Apple's long-time marketing chief Phil Schiller and the head of internet services Eddy Cue don't feel like a much better fit.

Some are arguing that the iOS chief -- Scott Forstall -- is the most "Jobsian" and thus may be destined to one day lead the company.  At the iPhone 4S unveil, Mr. Forstall, an Apple Senior Vice President, dropped into hyperbole and flashy presentations of the iPhone features that reminded many -- according to Bloomberg Business Week -- of Mr. jobs.

Scott Forstall
Scott Forstall, iOS SVP [Source: Fast Company]

The similarities are no coincidence.  Reportedly Mr. Forstall -- 42 and the youngest Apple SVP -- was taken under the wing of Mr. Jobs, who served as his mentor.  Andy Miller former head of Apple's iAd group describes Mr. Forstall's close relationship commenting, "He was as close to Steve as anybody at the company.  When he says stuff, people listen."

At conferences he mirrors Mr. Jobs' fashion choices, wearing black shoes, jeans, and a black zippered sweater.  On the go he drives a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, in silver -- the same car Mr. Jobs did.

II. A Ruthless, Yet Admired Leader

Like Mr. Jobs, Mr. Forstall has installed his name on numerous Apple patents -- 50 to be precise -- many of which Apple's competitors complain lift technology published in peer-reviewed literature ten years or more before the application.  But in adapting to the lust for litigation Steve Jobs acquired [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] in his later years, he's poised to continue Apple's strategy of using lawsuits as a tool against the mobile market's top players.

And he's also continuing some of Mr. Jobs other controversial habits, such as ruthlessly driving employees to perform and obsessing over every detail.  In fact his favorite refrain is reportedly "Steve wouldn't like that" -- a phrase of used by Mr. Forstall to evoke shame in his underlings.  And like his mentor Mr. Forstall is reportedly inspiring a high burnout rate, driving away Apple engineers to competitors.
Steve Jobs RIP
iOS Chief Scot Forstall evokes Steve Jobs name to shame his employees into submission.  He evokes strong reactions -- much like Mr. Jobs -- at Apple.  Some love him.  Others hate him. [Source: Apple]

Former Apple software engineer Mike Lee remarks, "I once referred to Scott as Apple’s chief a–hole.  And I didn’t mean it as a criticism. I meant it as a compliment. You could say the same thing about Steve Jobs."

But in performance it's hard to argue with Mr. Forstall.  He's engineered the world's second most used smartphone platform and the tablet used by more people around the world than another manufacturer or OS maker.  And he's reportedly inspired his i-device staff to virtually live at Apple, skipping social events, and becoming fanatically devoted to the unit's products.

That latter accomplishment reminds many of Steve Jobs in the 1980s who led the Mac group which had an "us-versus-the-rest-of-Apple mentality".  Wil Shipley, an independent software developer who works on site at Apple recalls, "Every iPhone engineer and iOS engineer I know at Apple has some of that.  They will tease me that iOS is crushing Mac in sales."

In high school Mr. Forstall played the lead in his school's rendition of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, reciting the harsh line, "There are two kinds of men, and only two.  There's the one staying put in his proper place and one with his foot in the other one's face."

Now he lives by that line.

III. From Stanford to the King of iOS

Graduating from Stanford University, Mr. Forstall quickly assumed a leadership role, designing the "Aqua" Mac interface, which Steve Jobs once remarked made "you [want] to lick it".  And he led the design of Leopard, another big computer success story for Apple.

In 2005 Mr. Jobs put his top staffers to the task of designing a mobile operating system for a phone.  The iPod team was in charge of one design.  They picked a customizable, Linux-based OS.  Forstall's Mac team was in charge of the other design.  He designed a closed-source Unix-like OS with cold exacting design and little customization.

Scott Forstall and Steve Jobs
Scott Forstall (left) may be Mr. Jobs' (center) most dedicated disciple.  Indeed he shares the late leader's penchant for theatrics, unrelenting performance demands, and a belief in closed systems. [Source: David Paul Morris/Getty Images]

Mr. Jobs reportedly expected the Linux team to triumph, but to his surprise it was Forstall who delivered the device with the best battery life and interface.  So instead of making Android, before Android, Apple made iOS.

But Mr. Forstall, like Mr. Jobs did show selective flexibility when necessary.  After disallowing third party applications on the first iPhone, he embraced them in the second generation.  The result was the App Store -- an application market that smart phone leader Google Inc. (GOOG) has still been unable to surpass in pure app volume, despite holding nearly twice Apple's market share.

Looking ahead, everyone's question is where Apple will go without Mr. Jobs.  With Tim Cook, Apple might end up looking more like a more demure, yet successful tech leader like Microsoft or Dell.  With Forstall eventually taking command, though, Apple reportedly might look a lot like it would have had cancer not claimed the life of Mr. Jobs -- ruthless, stylish, flashy, polished, and ever hungry.

Source: Bloomberg

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By Tony Swash on 10/13/2011 6:55:58 PM , Rating: -1
I know Apple phobics want to (sadly) take some crumb of comfort from the death of Steve Jobs (and god knows Apple's seemingly unstoppable growth must be pretty scary for phobics) but this is clutching at straws guys.

In the gaping leadership hole left by the death of Apple Inc.'s co-founder and driving force Steven P. Jobs,

Is that the gaping leadership hole that during Jobs long and debilitating decline led Apple to increase its sales by 100% two years running? Or was that the gaping leadership hole that led the deployment of iCloud, Siri and iOS 5? Of the leadership hole that saw the release of the iPad 2 or the iPhone 4s, or saw Apple comfortably retain 80% plus of the tablet market, or replace the world's best selling handset (the iPhone 4) with the world's next best selling had set (the iPhone 4s)? Or the leadership hole that saw the mac continue it' seeming unstoppable erosion of the Windows desktop market? Perhaps it's the same leadership hole that will see Apple sales explode in China in the next eighteen months or the one that release the iPad 3 to (again) comfortably retain 80% plus of the tablet market even as that market starts to eclipse the desktop.

Dudes - Apple is the finely tuned machine designed with love and care by Steve Jobs to dominate the tech market for the next decade. He did a very good job. Apple is firing on all cylinders and phobics should be afraid, there is much to for them to fear.

RE: Desperate
By weskurtz0081 on 10/13/2011 7:46:08 PM , Rating: 3
Mac's unstoppable erosion of the Window's desktop market? Isn't the world wide market share of Mac's still below 5%?

On the rest, who cares about "Apple phobics"? Competition is great, it's driving MS to innovate on the handheld side, it's pushing Google now that iOS is finally catching/caught up on features, it's great. And, trust me, other companies can ride the coattails of Apple creating new markets that they weren't able to or didn't create.

In reality, it's a win-win for everyone!

RE: Desperate
By adiposity on 10/14/2011 1:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
Mac's unstoppable erosion of the Window's desktop market? Isn't the world wide market share of Mac's still below 5%?

No, it's at 6.45% worldwide, 13.74 US, at least according to the following article:

RE: Desperate
By Onimuto on 10/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: Desperate
By Onimuto on 10/13/11, Rating: -1
RE: Desperate
By 91TTZ on 10/14/2011 6:33:01 AM , Rating: 3
Alot of people are like me skipping every middle phone. me and dam near everyone i convenced to get an iphone have bought iphone > iphone 3g <skip useless 3gs> >iphone4 > skipping iphone4s > awaiting iphone 5

If you wanted to skip the middle phones why would you get the iPhone 3G but skip the iPhone 3GS? The iPhone 3G was almost identical to the original iPhone while the 3GS had a lot of improvements.

The 3G had the same processor, same GPU, same RAM, same camera, etc. that the original iPhone did. There were only a few minor differences. The main difference was the addition of 3G and the name.

The 3GS had a processor that was twice as fast, a faster GPU, twice as much RAM, a digital compass, a better camera, etc.

In fact, there was a far bigger jump in specs between the 3G and the 3GS than there was with the iPhone to 3G. I think you're just looking at the name and getting fooled by that.

RE: Desperate
By Onimuto on 10/14/2011 12:41:16 PM , Rating: 1
What and why most of went from iPhone to iPhone 3G . It's aprent in the name. 3G , if the new iPhone had lte maybe but still would wait since lte isn't well ex stablished yet. Why I skipped the 3GS it had no real world improvements over my jailbroken 3G . Ad what is this twice as fast CPU you are pulling out your ass. iPhone4 maybe twice as fast. Seroiusly iPhone 3GS CPU is like the diffrence from a ati 6570 to a 6770. No I am not confused by the names. You must be one of those who by every upgrade huh. Like to see pc gpu buying habits zomg zomg invida released a 570 gtx , one month later zomg zomg invida release a 580 gtx , one month later zomg zomg invida released a 590 gtx by then in three months you spent $1,600 in gpu cards and so you feel good about yourself you convince yourself you knowtist huge performance increases. O well it's not my money honestly don't give a shit who buys what.

RE: Desperate
By jiffylube1000 on 10/16/2011 11:06:35 PM , Rating: 2
3GS had no real world improvement over the 3G? It was often 2x as fast loading webpages and apps! How about Anand's thorough review:

The 3GS loaded in 7.8 seconds vs 16.3 seconds on the 3G. loading in 13.5 seconds vs 31.7 seconds on the 3G. Etc.

The 3GS got rid of all of the "laggyness" from the 3G and original iPhone.

The iPhone 3G is limited to iOS 4.2.1 ; it wasn't powerful enough to run 4.3.x, which included multitasking for the first time. Forthermore, the iPhone 3GS can now be updated to iOS 5. Of course, the 3G is stuck at 4.2.1.

As for the iPhone 4 being 2x the speed of the 3GS, again you're wrong. They both feature am ARM Cortex A8 processor; the iPhone 4's is at 800 MHz and the iPhone 3GS' is at 600 MHz. Meanwhile, the original iPhone and 3G used the old and outdated ARM11 core. Source:

RE: Desperate
By DeluxeTea on 10/13/2011 11:42:53 PM , Rating: 1
Apple is the finely tuned machine designed with love and care by Steve Jobs to dominate the tech market for the next decade.

Aww, you didn't get some love and care from your dear Jobs?

RE: Desperate
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/15/2011 9:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think he got a lot of love in his life period.

RE: Desperate
By TeXWiller on 10/14/2011 1:32:48 AM , Rating: 1
Apple is the finely tuned machine designed with love and care by Steve Jobs to dominate the tech market for the next decade. He did a very good job.
But how could you possibly know that, unless.. Huh, it got suddenly very cold in here.

Oh, it was just the non-operational central heating system affecting significant areas of the city.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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