Seeking Alpha

Apple (AAPL) announces iOS chief Scott Forstall is leaving the company next year; Mac OS chief...

Apple (AAPL) announces iOS chief Scott Forstall is leaving the company next year; Mac OS chief Craig Federighi will now also be in charge of iOS. Also, retail chief John Browett is leaving. Forstall, once seen as a potential successor to Tim Cook, had come under fire over iOS 6's Maps app and (to a lesser extent) Siri. Browett was hired only in January - many were puzzled by the hiring, given Browett's track record at U.K. retailer Dixons.
Comments (73)
  • A positive. Controversial figure hits the road.
    29 Oct 2012, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Now that's news. And not a bad thing either. Not surprising considering Jony Ive can't stand him.
    29 Oct 2012, 05:44 PM Reply Like
  • Good move. Craig was with Steve Jobs since Next. He was as close to Jobs as anyone. This is a positve change considering the maps screw up.
    29 Oct 2012, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • As was Scott Forstall.
    29 Oct 2012, 06:17 PM Reply Like
  • Those who felt Apple could come to the table on day one with Maps that out did Google know minimize the complexity of cartography. This is a huge application undertaking that will take a few years, it's not the OS and my guess is they needed a GIS expert working closely with management to be guided to a proper launch. I bet there was intense pressure to launch Maps. .Apple needed Maps as both an offensive and defensive weapon...imagine having Google deny their maps to Apple users by pulling their app from the store!
    29 Oct 2012, 07:55 PM Reply Like
  • Google was allowing Android turn-by-turn navigation, but denying it to iOS, which set off the implementation of maps, a program that was under development for some time before....but Google's actions pushed Apple to implement their maps, perhaps before it was ready....
    29 Oct 2012, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • I'll build on MV's comment and suggest that even if maps were held back for more development, no matter when it came out, there'd be some level of inaccuracies that naysayers would jump on.


    Point being - there was no avoiding criticism of some level or another, so launch that damn thing, and live (and learn) with the feedback. Better to have 100 million sized focus group (installed base) to help identify inaccuracies and quickly get them fixed.


    It was the correct approach.
    30 Oct 2012, 09:56 AM Reply Like
  • Except Google didn't deny their maps to Apple users - they submitted a new app for approval to the apps store and Apple didn't approve it.
    But the whole thing is a red herring. Many apps are simply hyperlinks to a site that the iPad or iPhone is accessing via the browser anyway. SO anyone can use Google maps on an iPhone any time they want with or without the app by simply dialling it up in the browser. PLUS, if you are really lost, and how often does that happen realistically?, a sat nav in the car or in the hand is WAY more effective than any phone to get you back on track and is most likiley to happen out in the boonies where you have no wifi access and poor 2/3/4G reception.


    Browett was an inexplicable hire in the first place - just check out a DIxon's store in the U.K and - if you would know this man - just look around you. Mediocre.


    Forstall knows perfectly well he would be toast for failing to deliver if Jobs were still alive except Jobs would have personally noticed that app was not ready for prime time and he would have vetoed it's inclusion in the first raft of iPhone 5's to buy time to sort it out.
    Cook's first big mistake ...... but remember the iPhone 4 antenna problem and it's catastophic effect on Apple's evolution? .... Negligible in the long run, right? The proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating and quality (Apple products) is remembered long after price is forgotten. In time all the glitches get taken care of - at Apple at least. Let's see how Windows 8 fares under the same scrutiny .......
    1 Nov 2012, 05:06 PM Reply Like
  • @ nfarrie,
    We probably are on the same page with most of that.
    Two things, though, Google denied navigation function to iOS a long time ago, so Apple needed to get their own solution:




    Also, Forstall was a long in coming resolution....I would guess that because of the relative importance of Ive and Mansfield, things were on it's way prior to mapgate, I agree that maps was an overblown issue anyway. Browett really isn't in tune with Apple values....
    1 Nov 2012, 06:00 PM Reply Like
  • ronin,


    if maps was overblown, then why fire it's most prolific inventor over it?


    And with regard to the relative importance of Ive and Mansfield:


    When Apple forced its mobile software leader Scott Forstall out of the company, it pushed out the most prolific inventor at the company, as measured by recent patent filings.


    Forstall's name is on 166 pending patent applications. That's more than anyone at the company, according to data from investment bank MDB Capital.


    "He's one of, if not the most prolific inventors at Apple," says Erin-Michael Gill, Managing Director and Chief Intellectual Property Office at MDB. "If this guy is who the data seems to imply he is, letting him leave is a huge deal."

    1 Nov 2012, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • You have to balance things out, Luke. Sometimes costs to the morale, direction of the company outweigh the benefit of his contributions. And to that alone I give Tim Cook multiple kudos. Honestly, do you realize how divisive, polarizing SF was? I'm talking over an above what has been reported. I contend that AAPL was just waiting for the right time to cut ties and the failure to sign apology letter on maps might have been it or Jony threatening to leave. Yes, Jony hates SF that much.
    1 Nov 2012, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • Forestall had a reputation for taking credit for the work of others, so I am skeptical. His name is on the most patents? not a surprise to me... If his whole team under him we're leaving, that would be worrisome to me. From what I have read, I think that this was more to do with the other leaders rather than maps...of course, that couldn't have helped....but, the tension was intollerable way way before maps....If Jony left, then even I would find it difficult to be a bull....I bet Cook has this sense too....


    What I don't like, is that Forestall knows the inside scoops, the product pipeline and overall direction of Apple. So, what he does with that concerns me. Anyways, we only know what is in books and articles, Sduris knows some of the players, so to me, that is more compelling than only what journalists report.....
    1 Nov 2012, 06:59 PM Reply Like
  • Kind of reminds me when Steve left AAPL to start NeXT and AAPL (read: Sculley) was so worried about secrets getting out. Remember that law suit? I do. I was working at one of the law firms involved.
    1 Nov 2012, 07:08 PM Reply Like
  • If he thinks he is a little Steve, then let him prove it in his own wilderness experience, create value out there without selling out Apple....
    1 Nov 2012, 07:39 PM Reply Like
  • Here's Forstall's problem - ambition is his goal, that wasn't Steve's. He wanted to leave his mark, make something for the masses, the whole dent in the universe thing.
    1 Nov 2012, 07:48 PM Reply Like
  • ronin,


    please tell me you are not suggesting that Forstall cheated or scammed to get his name on more patents than anyone else at Apple with this comment:


    "Forestall had a reputation for taking credit for the work of others, so I am skeptical. "
    2 Nov 2012, 11:54 AM Reply Like
  • I said what I said....I don't know details about why this is said about him, and I'm not going to count numbers of patents and assume he was that incredibly prolific, because as far as I know, that is not what insiders have to say about him....just like I used to say that SJ used to pretend that the ideas of others under him were his own, that was said of Forstall...what that means exactly, I don't know.....


    I have not changed my tune about Forstall, I was criticizing him behind the scenes for some time now. Why should it matter? Now that Forstall is leaving, he should now be looked at as a major loss? I thought it may be their biggest problem, not expecting it to get question is why it should matter to you now?
    2 Nov 2012, 01:04 PM Reply Like
  • wow, well I'm a little surprised in that viewpoint.


    Anyway, here is the patent search for "Scott Forstall" and "Apple". You don't need to manually count the patents, but a quick glance should resolve any lingering doubts you may have.


    I know a little bit about patent writing, it's not an easy task.
    2 Nov 2012, 02:08 PM Reply Like
  • I will wait for comments from insiders on what happened with patents.....perhaps a book on Cook?


    I know in academia, the lead guy gets a whole lot of credit for the work of the others included under "et al".... We don't really know very much....I tend to be suspicious when I hear that someone steals credit and is very political....should we not be skeptical, given such comments that came out from Apple last year? You don't question this Luke?


    Perhaps I'm not the best guy to ask...I have wanted Forstall out for some time now....also Browett....I thought his moves were totally boneheaded and hurt Apple's great reputation for service, and the Apple stores were stars in the group, doing superbly....and Browett started the deterioration of this, so I am happy with the changes....


    What did you think of the Retina patent info? Usually when I send you info, it turns out to be supported, no?
    2 Nov 2012, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • Well I thought my search on Scott Forstall Apple patents was supported as well. But wait for the book to come out I guess, I mean that's got to be more trustworthy that USPTO filings! ;-)
    2 Nov 2012, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • Boy , Luke,
    Are you just skimming my comments? I told you why I am suspicious, and that problems like that happen outside of tech. I wasn't saying that you make up everything, Luke. There were a few things that you checked on in the past, so I would think that despite our opposing views and obvious problems of late, that you would consider me credible, anyway....did you look into SJ initiating the maps program? .....just as I recognize your programming experience....we'll see if I'm dead wrong on Forstall....


    What did you think of the Retina display details? That or the maps are not rhetorical, I am asking what you found and what do you think?
    2 Nov 2012, 02:45 PM Reply Like
  • Luke, you are kidding me right? Do you know how many patents Steven P. Jobs was part of? He was not a designer.
    2 Nov 2012, 02:52 PM Reply Like
  • No, not skimming, it was the first sentence.


    On Retina, I cited a patent in another post and asked if that was the one you were referring to, I don't believe you responded. Did you?
    2 Nov 2012, 03:51 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah, I responded in detail,
    but it can't be found in my comments, I checked twice....this is the second time.....last time, 3/4ths of the days comments dissappeared, including your comments in that conversation....and those were not combative....there is some glitch in the day a month ago, 60 comments dissappeared from the very beginning of my account. None of it is there to this day...I recall who I was talking to and found the comments through their threads....


    Remember you questioned innovation in a few things on that super long thread, including Retina and case design? I recall responding to that, and the other guy did to....those posts are now recall that too? Where is the other post with the blog link and the article that mentions LG?
    2 Nov 2012, 04:49 PM Reply Like
  • glitch in system or selective removal? Just askin. :)
    2 Nov 2012, 05:23 PM Reply Like
  • this is the second time with Luke, that I have seen; and these posts were discussing technical stuff, not personal conflict, or I wouldn't think something was wrong. I get some removed on occasion, but it is usually expected. A week or two ago, several comments of mine disappeared, and they were all in a row, not selected, and Luke's disappeared too. This time, there were responses to Luke from me and another poster, gone....and I can't find Luke's blog link and article link, I went all the way back to mid his comments trying to find it....


    ... and the 60 that disappeared were all in a row...and, they are still posted, but not showing in my comments.
    2 Nov 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • Luke, I will try to rewrite the gist of the earlier comment:
    I was studying the Retina display quite a while back, and was looking at how it works and actual PDF shots of the patent. I was saying earlier that I think that the blog and the article that mentioned Apple buying the technology from LG were probably in error, since this article is far more in depth and I saw the shots of the actual patents in the past. 


    I don't know where the original material is now, I get a different set of responses from a Google search than before..... Apple applied for the Retina patent a couple of years back, just receiving approval this mention of LG as the origin of the technology, nor of a purchase. I think article writers might get confused between HiDef and Retina displays, mistakingly thinking that it is only about screen resolution.....this is not so....


    ....I think you will find it interesting what Apple invented here, but it is quite technical so it might be gibberish to most people: 


    "Techniques found in Apple's invention relate to systems and methods for reducing edge discoloration in an LCD display"


    "Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Cheng Chen Shih Chang, Mingxia Gu and John Zhong."

    2 Nov 2012, 06:49 PM Reply Like
  • I do remember the conversation, and I do remember you posting some reasonably compelling stuffs. I just wonder why they're disappearing. I mean it was all conversational respectful. heh.


    Maybe someone thought we were derailing the conversation?


    2 Nov 2012, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • I wouldn't think so sduris, we weren't even arguing, just exchanging links and explanations.
    2 Nov 2012, 07:08 PM Reply Like
  • thanks. If SA is deleting our posts, I would appreciate a simple email that says so.
    2 Nov 2012, 07:10 PM Reply Like
  • This is the second time...I didn't say anything the first time...I don't think they would delete merely for off-topic.....then half the comments on SA are
    2 Nov 2012, 07:14 PM Reply Like
  • True that, Ronin. :)
    2 Nov 2012, 07:44 PM Reply Like
  • Oh....and if my comment is deleted, I will get the email notice.....these 3 instances of disappearing comments I mentioned had no email....that's another reason why I think they are glitches rather than moderation.....
    2 Nov 2012, 11:35 PM Reply Like
  • huh? email notice? what u talking about, willis, I mean, ronin?
    2 Nov 2012, 11:40 PM Reply Like
  • ask Fh its a conspiracy.. lol... sorry Sduris for jumping line....
    3 Nov 2012, 12:31 AM Reply Like
  • Considering I haven't had a comment deleted, I didn't know process. Interesting.
    3 Nov 2012, 12:32 AM Reply Like
  • You haven't lived until you've been deleted.....
    3 Nov 2012, 12:41 AM Reply Like
  • Ha, Ha, ST. With my retro "what u talking about willis?" quote above, Ronin was trying to imply I was old. Oh, the horror. :)
    3 Nov 2012, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • youre not getting older .....all the people around you getting younger....
    3 Nov 2012, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • smh on that one.
    3 Nov 2012, 05:29 PM Reply Like
  • really sduris you are not that old, and thanx for your family pic....
    3 Nov 2012, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • You are a silly willy.
    4 Nov 2012, 01:31 AM Reply Like
  • The ship begins to sink...
    29 Oct 2012, 05:50 PM Reply Like
  • No SoCal,
    Those were the two execs that I had the most concerns about....both guys were problems IMO....


    I think this is a very good move to get the Apple team cohesive again....
    29 Oct 2012, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • Ron:


    Read Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. Apple reached its greatness in the crucible constant tension and conflict. That was precisely what energized the creativity of the enterprise and assured that all new ideas and product iterations passed through a constant gauntlet of fire.


    "Cohesiveness" can easily lead to the "group think" that is the hallmark of all the myriad smoothly-run, but increasingly bureaucratic, creativity-stunted corporations that typically dot the landscape. These moves can just as easily be seen as further evidence of Apple becoming just another everyday post-Jobs company.
    29 Oct 2012, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • Tack, I guess you are referring to Ronin?
    I know from personal experience that conflict and intrigue drains time and energy from my productive work. I am quite independant, so collaboration never means "groupthink", but it reduces unnecessary structural and emotional barriers for others on your team, and it really goes a long way....people can do their best work without working counterproductively....I don't want others on the team rowing in the opposite direction from me....


    I have read Issacson's book.....but I don't recall it being a theme where the secret to Apple's greatness was tension and conflict. Steve Jobs succeeded with the help of many others, and they worked with him in spite of his mercurial temperament not because of it.....they saw in him great drive and passion, intensity and focus, vision and commitment to excellence, great sensitivity to nuances and design aesthetics, and an almost unstoppable ability to excite and inspire.


    I think they would have been happy to do without the shouting, the obscenities, the inflexibility, the crying and tantrums.....


    There were times where it was competition, like Mac vs Lisa, but that was because Steve controlled Mac and wanted to show his superiority, tlater taking over both divisions....I saw one more counter example, in the development of the iPhone OS, SJ pitted two teams against one another, one Forstall's, because he wasn't sure and wanted both built until he was sure....but this was not the norm of how the company existed....


    Jobs prided himself in getting the different areas of the business to find the right vision for the company as a whole, and get them forcefully driving toward that vision. Collaboration is one of the secrets....and one which others like Sony lacked....Sony stunted themselves by having competing divisions that could never get past the interest of the individual parts for the general good of the company and the resulting products.....
    29 Oct 2012, 10:31 PM Reply Like
  • Tack,
    I do recall Jobs testing people to see if they would stand up to him. Also, when he called other people's work "shit", he seemed to consider that honesty. But frankly, as another member of the senior team, an outburst from Scott Forstall was probably not tolerated as well as one from Steve Jobs.....and probably the shouting and outbursts should have left when Steve left......
    29 Oct 2012, 11:25 PM Reply Like
  • Scott isn't SJ...if he thought he was anywhere close to who SJ ever was ...I guess we know what the problem is.


    Why didn't Scott put a "beta" tag on maps?


    It would have been easier for Tim to keep him around...doing it would have guaranteed Apple's demise over time.
    30 Oct 2012, 01:03 AM Reply Like
  • I heard that after Jobs was gone, Forstall tried to be more like Jobs....I was quite worried about this....after poopooing so many bear chants of law of large numbers, too far too fast, SJ is dead.....this was the one that I thought was a real risk....but I mostly only talked about it by PM.... I followed the "don't feed the Bears" sign...
    30 Oct 2012, 01:32 AM Reply Like
  • Actually it started when Steve was alive - SF even had the same make/color of car that Steve had.
    30 Oct 2012, 01:35 AM Reply Like
  • Wow, he was that much of a dork? That's embarrassing....
    30 Oct 2012, 01:39 AM Reply Like
  • He went to work at NeXT right out of Stanford. He was impressionable and when you have "the guy" make an impression on you - not all picked up bad habits - I know some great people who worked with Steve at AAPL and NeXT and they were nice. I think there was something going on at NeXT - the "wilderness years" though, even though important, did make Steve bitter - I had heard he was bitter when he came back to AAPL the 2nd time.
    30 Oct 2012, 01:45 AM Reply Like
  • interesting. Reading all the replies to Tack leads me to believe there are a lot of Apple employees and ex-employees that want a calmer, more cohesive environment so they can get their work done. And that seems to be the direction the company is headed.


    Unfortunately for Apple, it's shareholders and customers, Tack is correct. Apple didn't become a great company by being afraid to "rock the boat".


    A serene company might be nice for employees to go to work to, but it won't make for an outstanding company like Apple became under SJ. I know, I've been in both. You want boring or fun? Your choice.


    There is a seminal change taking place at the company. Sell. Sell. Sell.
    30 Oct 2012, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • Agree wholeheartedly with Tack-matches my experience with successful companies becoming risk averse and unwilling to destroy the status quo (e.g., Kodak)
    30 Oct 2012, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • Employees say things are more transparent (not as secretive) there. I have noticed a shift when I have been on campus recently.
    30 Oct 2012, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • "Scott isn't SJ...if he thought he was anywhere close to who SJ ever was ...I guess we know what the problem is"


    SJ hand picked Cook and passed over on Scott.


    That says it all for me
    30 Oct 2012, 12:05 PM Reply Like
  • Oh God, now I know this topic has jumped the shark when we are quoting out of the Steve Jobs biography.
    1 Nov 2012, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • Gizmodo is reporting Sir Jony Ive is taking over the Human Interface division. Very good news indeed.
    29 Oct 2012, 05:50 PM Reply Like
  • This is good news - AAPL is actively addressing the situation. Cook is determined not to be complacent.
    29 Oct 2012, 06:30 PM Reply Like
  • It is good news, just think if the opposite happened, Forstall stays and Mansfield and Ive leaves? That might be reason to consider lightening the portfolio.......


    I guess Cook is much more bold than people gave him credit for.....
    29 Oct 2012, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • @Ronin - Sir Jony probably won't leave anytime soon, as he has the best job in the design world, gets paid huge compensation and now has expanded responsibilities.


    But you're right, Ive leaving would be a big issue.
    29 Oct 2012, 07:32 PM Reply Like
  • Ive was quite frustrated with Forestall....and Mansfield actually left, and was coaxed back by Cook....that's how big the Forstall problem was.....they didn't want to work with the guy....
    29 Oct 2012, 08:47 PM Reply Like
  • Forstall leaving is big issue. Steve Jobs used to say that Apple is a software company more than a hardware company.
    People use iPhone iPad because of iOS and its apps, using Mac because of Mac OS, not because of h/w. Forstall contribution is much more than Ive. Mac OS team is loser to Windows in term of market share, I don't see any hope now that iOS is under this loser team.
    30 Oct 2012, 06:27 AM Reply Like
  • This is welcome news indeed.
    29 Oct 2012, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • Obviously Tim Cook was embarrassed by the Maps fiasco. Someone's head was going to roll. Browett was a mistake from day one. Get Ron Johnson back, JC Penney is stinking it up.
    29 Oct 2012, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Yep, it's amazing that retail "expert" Browett couldn't even figure out what every Apple customer knows.


    At least AAPL figured it out relatively early rather than letting this guy damage the shopping experience. Truth be told, this clown should have been fired when he tried to cut employee hours to save money.
    30 Oct 2012, 01:04 AM Reply Like
  • Bring on the perma bears.
    30 Oct 2012, 02:02 AM Reply Like
  • Browett is no surprise at all. No one in the retail operation liked him. Forstall takes the fall for the Maps fiasco. Someone was going to get it for that PR headache.
    30 Oct 2012, 02:02 AM Reply Like
  • Before many of you were out of diapers, Hewlett Packard manufactured both mini computers (2100, 21MX, 3000 - Cupertino), Handheld calculators (Oregon) and desk top programmable calculators (Loveland and Fort Collins Divisions). Political infighting as to marketing barriers prevented HP from becoming the marketing giant it could have become.


    There was no one on the street that could beat HP on a consistent basis. The halo WOW was similar to AAPL. They lost it! They lost it by definable reasons. Now look at where they have been for the last several years – fighting for their business survival.


    My hope is AAPL will continue the synergy with 4 outstanding products (iPhone, Mini iPad, iPad, and Mac) and totally lock out the competition for eyeballs. Please do not allow AAPL to go the way of the mini computer companies of the past!


    There is certainly a “morning” and adjustment period needed for AAPL to get its footing after the passing of Steve. AAPL has the halo that could take it for another 20 or 30 years – if they manage the loose lips, fire those that loose iPhones in the bar, manage the political in fighting, stay aggressively creative and get that competitive fire back into their collective belly.
    30 Oct 2012, 02:19 AM Reply Like
  • Strange thing is some users in this site keep maintaining their very strong and hard-headed opinion that Apple did nothing wrong, they insist that Apple Maps works perfectly fine and there's not a single glitch in that program. Just how blind can some people be?
    30 Oct 2012, 04:18 AM Reply Like
  • Not every user ,uses maps in the same manner. Think for many it is ok, although it is not up to snuff...yet. Maps is a huge project, and Eric Schmidt acknowledged that it took Google 8 years to get it right.Apple knows how important it is to get it
    30 Oct 2012, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • When half of Tokyo is missing... does it really make any difference how you use the maps? :-P
    30 Oct 2012, 02:25 PM Reply Like
  • Is that where it is bothering you? You're using iOS6 in Tokyo?
    I didn't see anyone claiming perfection. The topic is Scott Forstall, anyway.
    30 Oct 2012, 05:23 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)