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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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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.


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