WSJ: Scott Forstall was pushed out of Apple for refusing to sign Maps apology

By , Oct 29, 2012

Earlier this evening, Apple announced some major changes to its executive team. John Browett, the head of Apple Retail, will be leaving the company. And more importantly, so will Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall.

Browett’s departure comes as no surprise, as he’s had several missteps in his short time at Apple. But Forstall’s exit caught some folks off guard, begging the question: was it his decision? And according to a new report, the answer is no…

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Apple Inc. executive Scott Forstall was asked to leave the company after he refused to sign his name to a letter apologizing for shortcomings in Apple’s new mapping service, according to people familiar with the matter.”

This incident was said to be the final straw in a series of clashes between Forstall and other executives at Apple. It’s fairly well known that the SVP didn’t get along with Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield and other department leaders at the company.

“Mr. Forstall, a 15-year Apple veteran, was a protégé of Mr. Jobs, and his name was once bandied about as a possible successor. He rose quickly at the company and earned a reputation for risk taking. But he was also known as difficult to work with, and “never fit into the culture of Apple,” said one person familiar with the matter.”

Forstall was personally hired by Jobs as a software engineer at his short-lived NeXT company, and followed him back to Apple. It’s been said that they were extremely close, and Jobs often mediated between him and the other executives.

The tense situation is believed to have reached a boiling point during the past month, as iOS users complained about the new Maps app in iOS 6. There’s been hundreds of reports of data inaccuracies, missing locations and points of interest, and other bugs.

“In deciding how to manage the crisis, Mr. Forstall argued that the company could address the outcry without apologizing, as Apple had done when it shipped iPhones with faulty antennas a few years ago, one of these people said. Mr. Cook and others disagreed, these people said. Mr. Cook signed his name to the apology instead.”

Apparently, this was the tipping point that led to Scott Forstall’s ousting, according to The Journal’s sources. And Inside Apple author and Fortune columnist Adam Lashinsky corroborates the story, saying he too has heard that this was the deciding factor.

Forstall’s responsibilities will be split up between Jony Ive, the new head of Human Interface, Eddie Cue, who will take over Siri and Maps, Craig Federighi, who will now lead both iOS and OS X teams, and Bob Mansfield, the new SVP of Technologies.

Thoughts?

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  • Dlevi309

    at least he has his dignity ;)

    • Kurt

      it’s not dignity. its arrogance. thats why he couldn’t apologize

      • shinx2ran

        yeah, you got the point there

      • dokt00r

        apple is (was) known for these “special” qualities…

      • Kurt

        true dat homie

        “your just holding it wrong”…who says this about their customers? iditos

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539008191 Luc Thibault-vallée

        and its was doing the jobs so far …..

      • Kurt

        what?

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.wayman.7 Craig Wayman

    Oooooo and I was right again!!!! if you look at the article about him leaving I guessed it. But I will say this… I don’t blame him. Apple maps are not that badI actually love em. There may be some bugs that don’t effect me but my Apple Maps work great. Google maps may be better but with all of this negative attention… I got a feeling iOS 6.1 update…. Not 6.0.1 but 6.1 is going to have a bad ass Apple Map update.

  • http://twitter.com/Tuanvy512 Tuan Z

    Perfect timing…I meant it’s best for Scott

  • wonderboydave

    that’s some harsh internal stuff going on. from what I see, I think apple is playing the safe card too much nowadays. the product lineup is looking too boring, no actual risk taking, there’s no ooomph or that special “one more thing” feeling. everything feels too expected.. and I can see why forstall and company is being ousted. he must’ve felt like crap, when he was announcing the “new features” for ios6.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1328808990 Bhuvan Kalra

      We all know the reason. Apple can’t stay for long without JOBS! :(

      • Blake

        You sir can leave.

    • dokt00r

      dejavu…. steve gets fired from his own company! and comes back to revive it again!!! ….. history repeating itself …. forstall (the protege of jobs) gets fired …. will come back when apples is down in the dumpster….

    • Blake

      They need a serious overhaul of the UI with iOS 7

  • http://www.twitter.com/auriculogenesis auriculogenesis

    If Scott was the guy that pushed iOS 6 Maps, he screwed up the relationship between Google Maps and iOS. At least it was acceptably usable before. Now it’s just junk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783517599 Gregory D Foster

    Wow. Craig might be able to pull it off after Scott’s gone but I doubt. Do you smell what Apple is cooking? It doesn’t smell good, this makes me nervous.

  • MagicDrumSticks

    The downfall of Apple begins.

    • iamse7en

      With Forstall? He’s always been a punk and a little full of himself. The downfall began with Jobs leaving (the earth). But I don’t even know if he would be able to stop the monster that becomes bureaucratic market heads. Nobody is King forever.

  • http://twitter.com/Rirath Rirath

    I, like most of us, don’t have enough information to call this decision good or bad. I do not agree with the various downfall of Apple posts, as I believe they made the decision they feel they must, yet I do wish Forstall luck in his next venture. I’m sure he’ll do fine.

    From my point of view, I’m more interested in how this will impact the interface, Siri, Maps, and etc with the responsibilities split between three people. Better, or worse?

    • http://twitter.com/3bdo_89 Abdo Sadek

      Was wondering the same thing. if this means a more innovative/revamped iOS in the future, i’m all for it.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    Scott’s being banished for being too close to Steve….
    Old grudges are hard to forget – the petty idiots are “cutting off their noses – despite their faces!!!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

      Not sure if you’re trolling, or have no idea what is going on.

      • Liu Zhenyu

        Why are always such an a-hole to everyone??? You’re just a skinny little wimpy prick. You look so nerdy on Facebook. Quit trying to be a tough guy.

    • Liu Zhenyu

      Ignore him. He is the real troll. He trolls everyone on this site.

  • http://twitter.com/Terhoence Terence Ho

    Man! That sucks! It’s a tough choice though!

  • http://twitter.com/ihxclos Carlitos 

    You know who else was difficult to work with and “never fit into the culture of Apple”? Steve Jobs. I’m not saying history will repeat itself but Tim Cook has always reminded me of John Sculley for some reason.

  • http://twitter.com/CVthegreat Braun Buffel

    It is good moved by apple actually, IOS interface/UI needs a new and stylish look. Hofefully, IOS 7 doesn’t look like IOS 2-6.

  • Kurt

    you apple fanboys who complained about apple maps caused him to be fired. you should be ashamed of yourselves!

    but on a serious note, he was wrong for saying apple should try to get away without apologizing. apple did the right thing by apologizing and fairly quickly.

    but, regardless if forstall signed it or not, cook should have too.

  • http://twitter.com/Plazmer Ahmed Muhammad

    No one should fire someone this close to Jobs, especially if he helped building up apple for the last 15 years and took a major part in every apple known devices today.

  • Manuel Alejandro Roman Leal

    As an apple products user (iPhone, iPad) i didnt wanted an apology i wanted solutions, i prefer a quick software update than a quick apology.

  • bwings

    Scott Forstall will join dev team to created ios6 jailbreak :)
    A5 & A6 Bootrom exploit maybe.. :D