There has been a massive shake up in the executive ranks at Apple.
Scott Forstall, the brilliant, but polarising SVP who leads iOS, is out. As is John Browett who took over Apple’s retail operations earlier this year.
Forstall’s responsibilities are going to be split amongst three long time Apple execs.
- Jony Ive, who leads hardware design, will lead Human Interface across the company.
- Eddy Cue, who leads Internet services, will take over Siri and Maps.
- Craig Federighi, who runs OSX, will also lead iOS development.
Apple is going to be looking for a new head of retail. Browett’s departure is surprising because of how short his tenure is with the company. However, he has been a controversial figure. He was cutting hours, and trying to make Apple stores more profitable, which seemed silly considering Apple makes a lot of money, and its stores are about providing excellent customer service.
Fostall is a much bigger surprise than Browett. Forstall has been at Apple basically his entire career. He was seen as the CEO-in-waiting, a Steve Jobs-like perfectionist who could one day lead Apple.
He led iOS after winning a brutal internal competition to design the iPhone’s software. On the way to winning he made many enemies. Reportedly, Tony Fadell, who is considered the godfather of the iPod left Apple after losing out on designing iPhone software to Forstall.
Forstall also reportedly couldn’t be in the same room as Ive or Bob Mansfield. Incidentally, Mansfield got a new job today, too. Mansfield will be in charge of a new group called, “Technologies,” which will work on wireless technology and semiconductors.
After scoring a big early victory with iOS, Forstall oversaw two of Apple’s biggest let downs in recent years: Maps and Siri. Siri, which is supposed to be voice-based personal assistance software has been a big flop. And Maps was so bad, CEO Tim Cook apologized to customers over it.
Forstall was also said to be leading the charge for Apple’s design to be skeuomorphic, which is a fancy way of saying making digital things look like their analogue counterparts. For instance, in the new Apple Podcasts app, there are tape decks playing. There is no reason to make a digital version of tape decks. This design language was said to be controversial inside Apple, and it could have contributed to his departure.
We expect to learn more details about what happened with Forstall and Apple in the days to come. Until then, here is Apple’s press release on the changes:
Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services
Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Add Responsibilities to Their Roles
CUPERTINO, California—October 29, 2012—Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.
“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”
Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.
Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organisation has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.
Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.
Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organisation, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organisation will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.
Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organisation has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionise retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.