Apple has just announced some major changes in its management, which will see a major player in the uppermost levels of the company step down, as well as some big shuffles to who’s in charge of what.
Officially, most of the upper echelons will be taking on more responsibility, as part of a move to “encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams.” But also announced as part of the news, Senior Vice President in charge of iOS Scott Forstall will be stepping down. He’s headed out next year, and will serve as an advisor to Tim Cook in the interem.
So what’s going on with the shakeup? Here’s the official description of who’s going to do what:
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 organization 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 organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.
Also headed out the door is John Browett, who was in charge of retail.
There hasn’t been any news yet about why this change has taken place. You can bet the next few days will see an explosion of rumors and discussion trying to get to the bottom of what’s happening. Is it because people believe iOS has stagnated? Maybe putting Ive in charge of design is pushing against the faux leather that’s infested Apple over the last year. Who knows, but it’s going to be interesting.
Reports say he was forced out: Earlier this evening, Apple announced a major change up in their executive management. Most notably, Apple Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall will be leaving. Forstall moved over to an advisory role effective immediately, and will ultimately depart Apple in 2013.
As Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall has been a prominent public figure at Apple. He was originally recruited to NeXT, Inc. after college and came to Apple with Steve Jobs after Apple's acquisition of NeXT in 1996. He has been on stage numerous times during Apple keynotes to demo the latest iOS features. Forstall was even profiled as Apple's CEO-in-Waiting back in January. That article, however, was a not always flattering look at the executive who reportedly had many clashes with others at Apple.
More recently, there was described to be an internal political divide in Apple about the use of skeuomorphism, the inclusion of certain ornamental elements in a product that are carried over from previous tools addressing the same task for which the elements were required for functionality.
According to the report, Apple's iOS chief Scott Forstall has long been a proponent of incorporating skeuomorphic features in the company's software, with Steve Jobs having supported and even originated that design direction for Apple's products. But others such as hardware guru Jonathan Ive find the inclusion of such features distasteful, and Apple's designers have reportedly been divided into camps over which direction to take Apple's products.
In light of the shakeup, Jonathan Ive is now taking over Apple's Human Interface teams.
DaringFireball's John Gruber believes that Forstall was forced out of Apple:
Forstall is not walking away; he was pushed. Potential factors that worked against Forstall: his design taste, engineering management, abrasive style, and the whole iOS 6 Maps thing. I also wonder how much Forstall was effectively protected by his close relationship with Steve Jobs — protection which, obviously, no longer exists.
Inside Apple author Adam Lashinsky agrees with that sentiment and also cites the Apple Maps issue as a reason for his demise:
I also heard that Forstall refused to sign the letter apologizing for the mapping fiasco, sealing his fate at Apple.
Lashinsky is referring to a public apology posted by Apple CEO Tim Cook about iOS 6's Maps. The Map app in iOS 6 replaced Google Maps with Apple's own proprietary solution. After a significant amount of criticism after iOS 6's launch, Cook wrote an open letter apologizing to customers about not meeting expectations.
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