Print 51 comment(s) - last by Darnell021.. on Nov 13 at 12:47 PM

Scott Forstall on stage with the late Steve Jobs
Apple is on the lookout for a new senior vice president of Retail, and will divide Forstall's responsibilities among other Apple execs

Apple revealed today that two key company executives will be leaving in the near future: Scott Forstall and John Browett. 
Forstall, the vice president of iOS software, will be leaving Apple next year after working with the company for about 15 years. He recently headed the launch of Apple's new maps application, which turned out to be a nightmare. Apple ditched Google Maps as its main iOS maps app in favor of its own in-house maps service, but when it launched, there were huge issues with the geography and navigation
Despite the maps mess, Forstall's upcoming departure still comes as a shock. When former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died, Forstall was considered the most "Jobsian" Apple employee to take his place. He was a Jobs protégé, from the enthusiastic personality to the same wardrobe to the same exact model car. However, Tim Cook got the job. 

Scott Forstall
Browett, head of Apple retail, will be leaving Apple as well. This seems a little less surprising, considering Browett led a retail hiring formula earlier this year that ended up being a huge mistake. This new formula caused Apple to lay off several new retail hires (some that only recently finished their training) and significantly cut the hours of part-timers back in August. Needless to say, this didn't make employees very happy, and Apple was forced to admit that it messed up
Browett joined the Apple team in April 2012. He came from UK-based Dixons Retail electronics stores, where many would argue that he didn't do a very good job there either. 
Apple said it's on the lookout for a new senior vice president of Apple Retail. As for Forstall, the tech giant has decided to divide his responsibilities among other Apple execs instead of bringing in any newcomers. 

John Browett [Image Source: The Telegraph]
Jony Ive, Apple's head of Industrial Design, will take over Human Interface (HI) for the company while Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, will take on Siri, Maps, the iTunes Store, the App Store, iCloud and the iBookstore. Furthermore, Bob Mansfield (who was supposed to be retiring), Apple's senior vice president of Mac and Devices Hardware Engineering, will lead a new group called "Technologies" for all of Apple's wireless teams while Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, will take over iOS and OS X. 
Of course, Apple had to insert how well it's doing to offset the mistakes its higher-ups made this year:
"We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple's history," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. "The amazing products that we've introduced in September and October, iPhone 5iOS 6iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services." 

Source: Apple

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RE: Wannabe
By Tony Swash on 10/30/2012 1:49:36 PM , Rating: 0
It's worth being clear about the maps issue. Apple had to dump Google maps. Google wouldn't add a turn-by-turn feature, Google wanted to include it's advertising in an Apple written map app and of course Google got to exclusively collect, keep and use all the valuable location related user data generated by the mapping app. It was likely that Google would continue to add features to Android maps and deny them to iOS users, plus Google could pull the plug on the whole map feature in iOS any time the contract came up for renewal. There was simply no way Apple could continue with Google maps. It would have been commercial insanity.

The issue of the timing of the switch away from Google maps was also time constrained, it had to fit into a major iOS version upgrade because it was such a system wide function and given the timing of the end of the original Google mapping agreement that meant it had to be part of the iOS 6 release.

However it is probably true that Scott Forstall underplayed internally how weak version one of Apple maps would be, and critically he did nothing in his presentation at the developers conference in June 2012 when Apple maps was first shown, or in the actual iOS/iPhone launch event to prepare the public for the transitional problems that were likely. That in my opinion was his fatal error.

If you compare how carefully Apple and Steve Jobs prepared the ground for the tricky, and at times rough, transitions from System 9 to MacOSX and from Power PC to Intel you can see how it is possible to manage expectations during such transitions. The key is to fully explain the reason for the transition, and then err on the side of pessimism about the possible problems likely to arise. Instead Scott Forstall never explained why Google maps had to go, pretended the new maps would be better from day one and never hinted at possible problems. Big mistake. Apple fans are so loyal that if he had said 'look it's going to be tough but with your patients and your help we can build over time a much better and more secure Apple mapping system free from Google playing silly buggers' then I think it would have been fas less embarrassing. As it was Scott Forstall just made Apple look bad and then wouldn't say sorry. So goodbye Scott.

RE: Wannabe
By simsony on 10/30/2012 4:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
The issue of the timing of the switch away from Google maps was also time constrained, it had to fit into a major iOS version upgrade because it was such a system wide function and given the timing of the end of the original Google mapping agreement that meant it had to be part of the iOS 6 release.

This does not make sense. Apple is in complete control of its versioning and could have very happily released Apple maps in 6.5 when it was mature or in iOS7. Previous iOS revisions have had changes to the API. Moreover the APIs are backwards compatible, even with iOS6.

If necessary, they could have purchased TomTom or Garmin to get a clear head start. Focussing on the quality not the marketing aspect.

They were not time constrained in anyway. Google strategy also proved otherwise with a possible Google maps app coming.

With previous changes (System 9 to MacOSX, PowerPC to Intel) , transitional arrangements were made (eg Rosetta - they acquired a company for this), and moreover existing product support was continued. No One felt any loss of functionality, they only had trouble moving on with new functionality.

The Apple maps situation is different. The transition to Apple Maps is an immediate step backwards in functionality for the end user. A downgrade is not permitted, and customer support is not valid for older versions, you are expected to upgrade. There is no supported option to keep the functionality enjoyed before.

And please don't tell me Google Maps webapp, it is not the same and everyone who has used the old maps and the web app fricking knows it. It is a fanboy excuse, and as soon as I see it I know I am dealing with a disciple of the Church of Apple.

RE: Wannabe
By dark matter on 10/30/2012 5:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's Tony Swash.

Nothing he says makes sense. It's just noise.

RE: Wannabe
By Darnell021 on 11/13/2012 12:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL APPLE THEY COULD'VE PURCHASED TOMTOM OR GARMIN YEARS AGO!?!? What a gigantic oversight, right!? If some random guy on a tech forum knew TomTom and Garmin were trying to sell their companies then why didn't Apple know!? You have raised some really good points!

Hopefully someone from Apple is reading this right now, I heard there is a job opening up in that very department soon! You sound like you have some wicked good insight into how Apple should run it's business!

Seriously though, no one is saying Apple MAPS isn't a giant flop, even Forstall got the boot. Apple has acquired at least 3 Mapping companies already since 2009, but there goal wasn't to re-badge an app; that wouldn't have been a profitable thing to do(Siri, obviously being the glaring exception to that rule). Google has had almost 10 years of grooming on it's MAPS application, Apple has had maybe a year and half if you count the development process and not just it's release date this past summer. Wait for MAPS 2.0 before you really start giving Apple sh*t for this. With something that needs to be accurate for each individual person in the United States, expect there to be alot of discrepancies in the data.

Tony Swash got it right when he said Forstall should've buttered this app in it's public release and not sit there telling the world it's the new perfection. How smooth a transition was Final Cut Pro X? At least with MAPS you can download alot of alternatives.

Trying to release new services on a worldwide scale into markets that already have mature products are always going to have lots of issues. Apple is learning the hard way they aren't special.

RE: Wannabe
By Trisped on 10/30/2012 5:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Apple had to dump Google maps. Google wouldn't add a turn-by-turn feature
This is of course, incorrect. Google multiple times stated (publicly) that they would add turn-by-turn and other features to their maps, but Apple would not provide them access to the necessary hardware to do so (probably full read access to the GPS).

It should also be noted that the Google Maps released with the original iPhone has seen very little change over the years. The fact is that Apple wanted to make Google look like the bad guy so when they replaced Google Maps with their version everyone would say "Yes, this is definitely better then my old map app."

Apple could have kept Google Maps as long as it wanted. It also could have taken a fully baked, existing system (from TomTom, Garmin, or anyone else with a working solution) and replaced it. It did not have to pull Google Maps and stick in its own, inferior, product.

Apple (under Jobs) never truly apologized. While they did release press statements which indicated a problem had been found and fixed, or provide alternate ways of using a product to avoid its flaws (your holding it wrong and the free cases) they never truly (to my knowledge) release a statement to the effect of "We screwed up, we are sorry". There was a case when a feature (do not remember which) was so screwed up that jobs called in the department which was working on it, asked them (probably yelled) what it was suppose to do, then why it did not do that. All the leadership for that project was fired. It did not matter if they would have said sorry, Jobs would not have let them.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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