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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle? 487

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-have-called-it-artistic-license dept.
New submitter noh8rz10 writes "Apple's Scott Forstall, who grew iOS from its inception, is departing the company. Rumors say it's because of the Maps debacle, and problems with Siri as well. Jony Ive is taking a larger human interface role, which means he may kill the skeuomorphic interfaces he hates. John Browett, head of retail, is out as well; he never won the trust of the community. What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?"
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Shake-up at Apple: Forstall Out; iOS Executive Fired For Maps Debacle?

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  • Ten years too late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:19PM (#41813359)

    Forestall does pretty good work, but he's always been too proud to listen when someone else has a better idea. He shouldn't be working on products that are used by hundreds of millions of people all around the world.

    The thought of him working directly under Tim Cook, who doesn't know much about product design, has always made me uncomfortable.

    Hooray for Ive, he's possibly the best engineer I have ever heard of, except for maybe Wozniak. This is a good day for Apple.

  • by kd6ttl (1016559) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:28PM (#41813421)

    Because he had some perfectionist tendencies. That was one thing that set Apple apart from Microsoft - you might not like what they did, but they usually did it thoroughly. That seems to be falling apart a bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:30PM (#41813435)

    For example, the way the OS X Address Book attempts to resemble
    a paper address book. This is pointless and stupid and the only
    people it could possibly appeal to are idiots who probably don't
    use a computer for anything more than surfing the web anyway.

    This is the kind of crap that insults me when I see it on a computer I
    paid a lot of money to buy.

    If Ive gets rid of this crap, he will have my everlasting appreciation.

    Also, and MUCH more important : Apple MUST quit trying to blend the
    interface used by OS X with the interface used by iOS. The result of
    such attempts at blending is stuff that is annoying and awful to use and
    it is an insult to a user who has a modicum of intelligence. QUIT THIS
    SHIT, Tim Cook, or your legacy will be that of the guy who fucked up
    a good thing, and that is not a legacy anyone with honor wants.

  • by tom229 (1640685) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:32PM (#41813445)
    Although it may seem that way I believe they would have seen this decline in innovation and popularity anyways. Apple needs to constantly produce extraordinarily innovative products to trump it's arrogant and draconian business practices. The mobile phone market was controlled by a bunch of lazy fat dinosaurs when apple entered the game flush with iPod cash. They helped move the paradigm for sure, but the market is too competitive for them to continue to innovate on that scale anymore, and it's definitely time for them to go away. We'll all be much better off without them.
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:32PM (#41813449)

    He's the one who designed all their successful products, after all.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:36PM (#41813471) Journal

    Look, it's bad when people on TV use Siri and iMaps as a joke for a bunch of different shows. I've seen it on commericals, sitcoms, and of course stand up comedy.

    Granted it's more Siri related, but the iMaps get said a bit also.

    Siri i can understand not working, we are talking speech recognition, but a map program? That is seriously bad.

    Lets see how they fix it though.

     

  • by ericdano (113424) on Monday October 29, 2012 @10:56PM (#41813603) Homepage

    Scott has been messing up. The interface designs are getting out of control on iOS and OS X, and hopefully Ive will fix that. Maps and Siri still don't work as advertised (though they are getting better all the time). I don't think Scott will be missed. It makes a LOT of sense to reorganize how they did, though Mansfeld though should have retired......

    The other guy, good riddance. His managing of the Apple Stores is questionable to say the least.

  • Re:sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:08PM (#41813683) Journal
    This means Jack Shit, it's standard mokey politics for an incoming boss, sack a few high profile monkeys and the other monkeys will fall into line. A boss who isn't noticed and can't hand pick his entorage is a figure head, not a leader.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:08PM (#41813685) Homepage

    Oh I don't know, Steve was fairly slimy. His treatment of Chrissann Brennan, for example, or how he cheated Woz out of money when Steve was at Atari.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:09PM (#41813695)
    Apple has already produced it's best ever products and it is on the way down now. Nothing new or exciting will come out of Apple in future.
  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:12PM (#41813719)

    In all fairness it was GOOGLE refusing Apple to use the Turn-by-Turn results in the App that Apple made for Maps and paid money to Google on behalf of users. GOOGLE wanted "more control".. Read it what you will, but they obviously wanted more information from/ about users than Apple was willing to share (on top of money).

    Google rocked the boat FIRST by WITHHOLDING features from iOS versions while Apple was a PAYING CUSTOMER of the service. (To give its own pony an advantage) Apple did what any of US would do. Find another vendor ASAP.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:12PM (#41813723)

    He let Siri go live. In fact, he saved it for himself to announce in the last keynote he did. The key distinction there is that he set expectations appropriately with Siri. He introduced it as a beta that was still in need of work, but that he thought it was ready to show and to let others use. He explained that there would be issues, but that they'd work them out. Had they done the same with Maps, there would not have been such a big issue. But because Forstall showed off a perfect demo and claimed the usual "just works" level of polish, anything less than that would mean a big disappointment. And it was a disappointment for many people when it didn't just work.

    Honestly, Steve Jobs let several things go live that shouldn't have. Remember the MobileMe release? Heads rolled over that, with one Senior Vice President getting the boot. That was actually a much bigger deal at the time than this Maps thing is now.

  • by PNutts (199112) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:21PM (#41813759)

    I've heard iphone users complain that they can't get swype and can't get Google Maps or turn-by-turn navigation or any number of things that are on Android...

    iOS 6 turn-by-turn navigation puts Garmin's app to shame.

  • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:34PM (#41813841)

    The whole point you are making happened many years ago, arguably before Steve came back. Every "innovation" Apple has had over the past ten years was someone else's idea given just enough refinement and advertising to get consumers to like it.

    Smartphone, that was IBM, Microsoft, Sony, and RIM long before Apple. Apple just managed to consumerize ideas from the corporate tool world. The same goes for tablets. Microsoft never moved their primary UI to be compatible before now with touch and stylus interaction, but Gates kept evangelizing the concept until Jobs actually went and had a regular OS trimmed and locked down to where touch was easy for the uninitiated. Even the iPod was nowhere near the first or best MP3 player, but Apple managed to leverage iTunes and advertising, never superior hardware, to sell lots of hardware. Ultrabook (MBA)? Fujitsu, Sony, NEC, and Toshiba had powerful fully spec'd ultra compact laptops available overseas for 5 or 6 years prior (Dynamism was the primary importer for US buyers).

    Apple is not losing their edge, they are simply having to compete now that other OEMs and software developers have had time to develop consumer, rather than professionally oriented products, in markets which have been gestating for several years. Apple has never done well competing on even ground.

  • Re:sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:38PM (#41813871) Journal

    OR we do not really know what happened are are making an assumption?

    We do know that IOS 6 sucked. It had power issues, maps were unusable, and Sirii still has issues. To this day people love putitng pics on facebook of IPhones misinterpretting things in embarrasing conversations.

    I would fire several people too. Not to show who is boss and be a badass, but because that should not have been released PERIOD. Did they do any QA at all? WTF. I could be wrong too and Cook could have demanded it and ignored issues but this would be likely a good termination ... well except for the guy who got canned.

  • Forseen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by U8MyData (1281010) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:41PM (#41813891)
    Here we go. I saw something like this coming from Apple. Steve was the glue that held the helm. No doubt Apple's market experience has been tough with all the battles going on, but the color of Apple is changing. Expect more I'm affraid... For the record, I'm just an Oracle. I know nothing...
  • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:42PM (#41813895)

    What does such a major shakeup say about Tim Cook's leadership?

    He is going to lead and hold people accountable?

    Err, are you suggesting that Tim Cook was not involved in Apple's recent string of blunders? Perhaps that he didn't know what was going on? Or that he did, but did not understand the consequences? Good luck with that.

  • by harperska (1376103) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:53PM (#41813981)

    Down 15% because the wall street analysts are playing shenanigans. Amazon posts a $274 million LOSS, and there isn't a single article in the news about it. Apple posts profits that are a little bit less than the made up numbers the analysts pulled out of their asses, and all the news sources practically shit themselves over the 'disappointing' news, conveniently ignoring the fact that the record 8.2 billion in profits happen to be 26% up over the year ago quarter and their best 4th quarter ever.

  • by mclaincausey (777353) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:59PM (#41814017) Homepage

    Forstall sounds like he was kind of a cancer and his excess skeumorphism ruptured an otherwise seamless aesthetic that is a big part of why a lot of people but Apple products. Browett had a bad record and was never a good fit for Apple IMO and his idiocy with trying to draw down clerk hours to save a few bucks demonstrates a cultural disjoint between him and Apple's obsession with customer experience. If your customers don't feel special they will not pay premium margins. A discount retail approach would convert their hugely powerful retail outlets into cost centers.

    The Maps issues aren't related to anything but the quality of data as far as I'm aware. I have no idea if that's his fault, or if it was his fault to put Maps on prematurely, but strategically I think Apple had to divest Google from their platform there at some point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:00AM (#41814021)

    Using CAPITALS to emphasize RANDOM words in your POST doesn't make the post any more USEFUL. Apple DIDN'T want to PAY (alright, enough of that) for a feature from a service Google sells, Apple was paying for the mapping, but not paying for turn-by-turn navigation and wanted that data for free. Google set a price for this (obviously quite valuable) service, and Apple decided to sacrifice pretty much their entire design philosophy rather than pay Google anything, and released a half-baked clusterfuck.

    Google didn't withhold anything from Apple, just set prices for various aspects of their service. If Apple didn't want to pay and instead piss off their own customers with an inferior replacement, that's all Apple's doing. But you'd have to lack any kind of business sense to think that Google should have just given Apple this data for free.

    I would have kept Google Maps, as would have most rational businesses concerning a major feature of their core product that works great and is exactly what the customers want, rather than move it in-house and release it before it's ready on a new flagship product.

  • Re:sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tanktalus (794810) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:03AM (#41814045) Journal

    Not to show who is boss and be a badass, but because that should not have been released PERIOD. Did they do any QA at all? WTF..

    Seriously? From the debacle that is the product just released at $work, with huge rounds of all-levels-of-management congratulations for getting the product out the door, I'd say that nothing matters other than the date. Not functionality, not quality, not employee retention (12-16 hour days, 7 days a week, for 3 months?). Nothing other than that date. It was going to be delivered come hell or high water.

    If it doesn't pan out, someone may lose their job. Maybe a few people. But probably not the same people who decided to deliver on a particular date regardless of readiness.

    If Apple is anything like this, it doesn't matter whether QA was finished their job or not. A particular event was scheduled, an announcement had to be made, the product had to be delivered, whether ready or not.

  • by jasnw (1913892) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:15AM (#41814099)
    As soon as I heard this I was happy. I am a computer user. I don't gaze at my computer fondly and I don't use it to access content and I could give a rat's ass if it looks like some 1920s calendar (unless there's a Vargas girl on the front!). I want the computer to help me do my job and otherwise get the (expletive deleted) out of the way. I am hoping this will mean some time and effort spent on fixing some of the oddball things that haven't worked right in OS X for far too long. Let the Content Eaters get their rocks off on their iPads and iPhones, but a desktop machine is made for heavy-duty work, be it graphics design or down-to-the-metal coding. I don't want pretty and I don't want cute - I want works and doesn't need constant maintenance (which is why I'm off the Linux desktop). I'm probably reading in to this more than I should, but I hope at least some of what I'm reading is right.
  • Re:sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by donscarletti (569232) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @12:26AM (#41814175)
    Not only that, but the guys he wouldn't dare fire, namely Jony Ive (the genius industrial designer behind iEverything who basically saved Apple) must be indulged in doing whatever the hell they want, even though they probably shouldn't, namely control the GUI, otherwise they will come into early conflict with the new boss.
  • Re:Clang Clang (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mozumder (178398) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:06AM (#41814393)

    Even as a proponent of clean minimalist design, I actually started to come around to the skeumorphic concepts in iOS. It does give it some charisma compared to Android and Metro UI.

    Some things were absolutely horrible & offensive, like Game Center, but other things are subtly brilliant, like the coherent jewel themes on the icons and buttons.

    I look forward to the next chapter from Apple. I hope they don't lose the goofy charm that iOS has.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:11AM (#41814421)

    Apple needs to stop the thin on the desktop

    Come on one of the new imacs systems does not even have user ram door?? and 5400 RPM HD's? with no cd / dvd??? I can see it on the mini but the imac AKA something that apple is pushing for PRO use does not have one?

    And the mac pro is very out of date but at least do a price cut or some out with a desktop with a desktop cpu / desktop video card (yes the adobe apps do use video cards) / and more then 1 HDD slot. External enclosures are a mess and take up a lot of desk space.

  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:52AM (#41814935) Journal

    Forstall was canned because he didn't get along with the rest of the executives, pushed for over the top skeuomorphism that everyone else in the company and even the rabid fanboys hate, and fucked up the maps thing. He was holding the company back.

    Interesting. Especially the "holding the company back" thing.

    Recently, I've been catching the Samsung ads while watching football. "The Next Big Thing is Already Here" is really starting to work it's way into my head. The ads outside the Apple Store are priceless--especially the "We'll get that next year, right?" It seems that Samsung has been working on useful things while Apple has been thrashing about trying to decide what shade of leather looks best in the Calendar app and whether bookshelves in iBooks should be Maple or Oak.

    So Apple is looking less-and-less like the technology leader and more like the follower. I hear more and more people saying, "Well, I'd get Android but I have all these iOS apps that I'd have to buy again." These were the same excuses that Windows users used to have. "Yeah, it sucks, but I have too much of an investment to walk away from it now."

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:37AM (#41815087)

    13.68 P/E... I wouldn't write them off just yet, the holiday season could do interesting things to the stock.

    Yes, like maybe put a lot of Nexus Sevens and Nexus Fours under the Christmas tree. I know this is certainly the case amongst the folks I know, and these are not geeks. The geeks, they aren't waiting for Christmas.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @04:13AM (#41815211)

    So what you are saying is that Apple moved into existing markets where several other competitors had the advantage of getting there earlier, and Apple still beat them to the punch? And this somehow proves Apple can't compete on even ground? If, for example, Microsoft were so far ahead of the game in the tablet market, how come nobody was buying them until Apple released the iPad?

  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @04:43AM (#41815299)

    I've heard Android users complain that they can't tell which of thirty apps with intentionally deceptive names is the actual app they're trying to get, and that their 6 month old handset only supports a year-old version of Android.

    Walled gardens and totally open platforms each have their advantages and disadvantages, and users will have different preferences based on their needs. What a shock, right?

  • by oztiks (921504) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:41AM (#41816493)

    If you're going to play the "I know about stocks better than you" card I suggest you look at Amazon's balance sheet, they're doomed unless they can fix the business. All Amazon is doing now is juggling the expenditure vs income to make itself look better in the eyes of investors but they are not fixing core issues.

    Check the balance sheet, check its history and u can see the grave being dug deeper and deeper ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:19AM (#41817581)

    Not to mention, $120 BILLION cash in the bank is world-changing money when Apple reinvents the next market.

    It's leading the way in education (as it almost always has) and stands poised to do for the textbook racket what it did for music.

    I'd love to see Cook bring in a visionary humanitarian like Woz just to provide direction in the education area...that would change things in a fundamental way. They could accomplish it with someone else.

    Apple has reached a point at which it can start leveraging what it has built into something of far greater lasting value than millions of computing devices. Jobs had a genius for identifying things in our lives that suck and figuring out a way to apply technology to improve them.

    Plenty of things still suck at a model level: education, jobs, television, politics, journalism, travel, banking...you name it. Each of those is ripe for revolution in some fundamental way, and I expect Apple to start using its essentially limitless resources to expand its reach. Of the companies its scale, it is the only one that started out with a vision of putting power in the hands of people, especially young people. It has done that in a way that no other company has, even Microsoft at the height of its market dominance. Maybe Google is philosophical kin, but I'm not sold yet. Apple is still building the infrastructure of its vision, the server farms, the variety of interfaces to it, the software. At some point, though, one not too far off, you're going to see that infrastructure start to change things. And maybe, after 25 years behind a Mac, I'm still naive; but I do trust Apple to do a good job.

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