According to a report by Reuters long time Apple executive, and top lieutenant to Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall has been forced out by CEO Tim Cook because of his apparent refusal to take responsibility for the much maligned maps application in iOS 6.
Reportedly, Mr. Forstall was requested to sign a public ‘apology’ letter for the map application, but refused to do so. Mr. Cook signed the letter instead.
Apple says Mr. Forstall will depart the company at the end of the year.
While Mr. Forstall leaves the company on less than desirable circumstances, his legacy will be fondly remembered by many in Apple: he ran the mobile software team with ‘clockwork’ like efficiency during the last days of the original iOS development cycle. He is largely credited with being the force that allowed the original iPhone to be delivered to consumers on time and in a relatively bug-free state.
Mr. Forstall’s firing comes in the wake of the firing of newly hired retail chief John Browett, who was recently hired from U.K electronics retailer Dixon’s. Mr. Browett, who was tasked with the next phase of international expansion of Apple’s retail chain, was apparently not liked by middle management.
With this executive shuffle, and a almost certain slowdown of growth, Mr. Cook has laid out the defining challenge of his executiveship: management of the C-level suite. Can Apple maintain its talent when it has lost the creativity edge in the tablet and smartphone space to competitors? Only time will tell.