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Print 20 comment(s) - last by crazyirish.. on Dec 3 at 1:03 AM

The disappointing launch of Apple's first in-house maps app was the reason

Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue fired Richard Williamson, manager of the Apple mapping team. The reason was the list of problems that came along with the launch of Apple's first home-built maps service. 

Earlier this year, Apple ditched Google Maps as its main iOS maps app in favor of its own in-house maps service. Apple Maps debuted with the iOS 6 launch, but the application failed miserably when it came to navigation and geography. It displayed locations that didn't exist or represented existing locations in an unrecognizable way. 

This forced Apple CEO Tim Cook to have to apologize to customers for the company’s poor job on the new app. 

Shortly after, Apple Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall was booted from the company. He oversaw much of the mapping development, and aside from that, failed to get along with other company executives and employees. Apple employees reportedly celebrated his exit. At that same time, Apple retail head John Browett was fired as well for making a huge hiring mistake that went public and booted many part-time employees right after their training was complete.


[Image Source: The Amazing iOS 6 Maps]

Now, even though Apple's maps seem to be improving over time, Williamson has parted ways with the company as well. It is unclear who his replacement will be at this time.

With big players like Forstall, Browett and Williamson leaving Apple, there have been many changes internally. Jony Ive, Apple's head of Industrial Design, took over Human Interface (HI) for the company while Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, took 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, took over iOS and OS X. 

Apple isn't the only one shaking up its executive lineup. Earlier this month, Microsoft fired its President of Microsoft Windows and Windows Live division, Steven Sinofsky. He was a brilliant key executive behind many projects including Windows 8, but had the same issue as Forstall: he didn't play well with others. 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wanted a more integrated team across all Microsoft departments, and Sinofsky wasn't having it. Even Microsoft co-Founder Bill Gates agreed that Sinofsky had to go

Source: Bloomberg



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Classic project management faux pas...
By tayb on 11/27/2012 8:04:09 PM , Rating: 5
Apple asked for a Ferrari with the time constraints to build a Cadillac. When the project wasn't successful at launch they fire the leaders. No one could have properly managed the creation of a brand new maps platform given the time constraints, mergers, and acquisitions. What Apple should have done was swallowed its pride and paid Google to give it access to the turn by turn API it was withholding while continuing to develop the maps application until it was mature... probably another 12-18 months. But no... launch a product that was honestly still in alpha stages, act "shocked" that it's a failure, make a big show of apologizing, and then fire the guys who were in charge.

Sounds like Microsoft actually, not Apple.




RE: Classic project management faux pas...
By theapparition on 11/28/2012 9:39:26 AM , Rating: 3
Not sure where you came up with that analogy.

At one time Cadillac actually meant the pinnacle (and still somewhat does) of cars. "That's the Cadillac of <insert product>" used to be a common phrase showing something was at the top of it's category. While the competition has caught up and surpassed them in some areas, Cadillac still atones the perception of quality.

Apple maps in no way compares to Cadillac. A 25yo Yugo seems more appropriate.


By xytc on 12/2/2012 9:45:20 AM , Rating: 1
There is something very very special about SAMSUNG watch out this:
SAM+SUN+G
SAM (ordinary man) + SUN (sun in the sky) + G (comes from God)
So SAMSUNG just shows the order of things in this world.

While APPLE:
APPLE = sign of the biggest SIN and of the FALLEN ONES.

That being said SAMSUNG can only RISE while APPLE can only FALL.


By aliasfox on 11/28/2012 11:48:33 AM , Rating: 2
In your analogy, timelines are irrelevant. If you want to compete with Ferrari, you don't hire a Cadillac engineer, you poach from Lamborghini, Pagani, McLaren, or Ferrari themselves until you build a team that knows what it's doing. A Cadillac engineer can give you a Corvette in the same time as a Ferrari engineer will give you a Ferrari, but at the end of the day, a Corvette just isn't quite the same.

But there really are two sides to this coin. One is delivery, which bombed, badly (Apple asked for a Ferrari, tried to build a Corvette, and ended up with a Chevette). The other is expectations management - Williamson and Forstall said their car could do 0-60 in 4.0 secs, but then everybody found out it could only do 0-60 in 8.0 secs. They said it would look gorgeous, and then unveiled a Pontiac Aztek. If they had told management that the proposed Ferrari competitor looked more like the Homer (look it up), they probably wouldn't have included it.

Based on all the rumors, Apple had 12 months left on their Google Maps contract. Williamson should have weighed that against a not-ready Maps, and explained to Forstall/Cue/Cook that going full bore on Maps and getting rid of Google Maps at this time was going to be problematic. Williamson didn't manage his managers' expectations well enough, and that is likely his biggest downfall.

Nobody would have batted an eye had Apple included both Google Maps and iOS Maps as a beta for the next 6-12 months. Whoever downplayed the issues with Maps at launch should have been reprimanded severely, and it looks like both Forstall and Williamson have learned lessons from this.


By Metaluna on 11/28/2012 1:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it has ever been proven that Google would have allowed Apple to use turn-by-turn at any price. Apple upper management, however, certainly did not help, and made statements that undercut the company's position. It's really pretty stupid to declare nuclear war on the company that provides a major portion of your phone platform (maps). If Apple had taken a less hostile stance towards Google, they may have been able to work out a deal to use Maps for another year or two until their own product was ready.

It's kind of like the CEO of ESPN saying he wants to go thermonuclear on the National Football League, and then acting surprised when his network loses the broadcast rights to Monday Night Football. Then he makes it worse by trying to pin the blame on some underling.


By RipNLa on 11/30/2012 10:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about the analogy because I know nothing about cars, but I certainly agree with you on everything else.


By crazyirish on 12/3/2012 1:03:42 AM , Rating: 2
Completely Agree. Typical big business.


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