Who’s to blame for Apple’s disappointing Maps experience?
Fingers are pointing at Apple iOS software Vice President, Scott Forstall, and some say he should be fired over the mess.Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt asks, “Does Apple have a Scott Forstall problem?”
Forstall eloquently introduced Apple Maps to the world at its conference a few weeks ago. There was no mention of the service having any limitations.
Former Apple executive and venture capitalist Jean-Louis Grassee writes of the deception:
“[Forstall’s] demo was flawless, 2D and 3D maps, turn-by-turn navigation, spectacular flyovers… but not a word from the stage about the app’s limitations, no self-deprecating wink, no admission that iOS Maps is an infant that needs to learn to crawl before walking, running, and ultimately lapping the frontrunner, Google Maps. Instead, we’re told that Apple’s Maps may be ‘the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever.'”
Maps isn’t Forstall’s first let down either. Last year he unveiled Siri on the iPhone 4S, another Apple embarrassment. But at least Siri was clearly label “beta.”
Other reports say Forstall has issues internally at Apple too. Last year Bloomberg Businessweek reported that he doesn’t get along well with other Apple executives; designer Jony Ive and Bob Mansfiled avoid meeting with Forstall unless Apple’s president Tim Cook is there.
“He routinely takes credit for collaborative successes and defelcts blame for mistakes,” Bloomberg wrote of Forstall.
But then Forstall has done a lot for Apple. He’s been at the company for nearly two decades and joined the company when NeXT was acquired in 1997. He was one of the original architects of the Mac OS X operating system and has headed up iPhone and iPad software since 2006. In that same Bloomberg article he was dubbed “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” under Steve Jobs. He’s long been considered Apple’s “CEO-in-Waiting.”
Is it fair to blame Forstall for everything and are Apple Maps really that big a deal? Probably not. But some Apple fans are really upset.
A reader wrote to Elmer-DeWitt, “There’s no excuse [for Apple Maps]. Quality control on Apple Maps had to have been terrible to not get this right. Bluntly, Scott Forstall should be fired over this mess.”
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