Tim Cook: Why I Fired Scott Forstall

scott forstall

[credit provider=”Justin Sullivan/Getty Images”]

Tim Cook says Scott Forstall and John Browett are no longer at Apple because he wanted to increase the company’s collaboration.Forstall created iOS, the mobile software that runs iPads and iPhones. He was one of the most important people at Apple. Browett was a new hire, running the retail operations.

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Cook explains why they were forced out of the company by saying it was due to “my deep belief that collaboration is essential for innovation.”

Cook clarifies a bit more by saying:

You look at what we are great at. There are many things. But the one thing we do, which I think no one else does, is integrate hardware, software, and services in such a way that most consumers begin to not differentiate anymore.

So how do we keep doing that and keep taking it to an even higher level? You have to be an A-plus at collaboration.

He then talks about Jony Ive leading the look of the hardware as well as the look of the software. And Craig Federighi leading the OSX and iOS teams, which need to work seamlessly. And then Bob Mansfield taking over wireless and silicon technologies, which are growing at Apple.

Sounds sort of blah, as an answer, but then answering a question about Jony Ive, Cook reveals something a bit more specific, saying:

But the thing that ties us all is we’re brought together by values. We want to do the right thing. We want to be honest and straightforward. We admit when we’re wrong and have the courage to change.

And there can’t be politics. I despise politics. There is no room for it in a company. My life is going to be way too short to deal with that. No bureaucracy. We want this fast-moving, agile company where there are no politics, no agendas.

Let’s break that into pieces.

Forstall reportedly refused to sign an apology for Apple Maps. Cook wants people to admit when they’re wrong and have the courage to change. Refusing to sign an apology means you can’t admit when you’re wrong.

Then there’s the “I despise politics” bit. Forstall was also a reportedly political manager, taking credit for other people’s work, pushing people aside.

So, add it all up and you get a decent picture about why Forstall was out. He wouldn’t collaborate with other people at the company, he was political, and he couldn’t admit when he was wrong.