Yesterday, Apple published a rather shocking press release, which addressed a drastic restructuring of executive personnel. The most notable change is the immediate termination of Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, and an upcoming 2013 termination of Scott Forstall: former senior vice president of iOS software.
To compensate for the loss of both Browett and Forstall, their previous responsibilities will be divided among Jonathan Ive, Bob Mansfield, Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue.
Since the announcement, there have been a number of developments regarding Forstall’s departure from Apple. As the Senior Vice President of iOS software, Forstall frequently presented during Apple’s keynote presentations and became somewhat of a public figure who represented a part of the company. After finishing college at Stanford University, Scott Forstall was hired by Steve Jobs to work for NeXT: a computer company Steve Jobs founded in 1985, which was later acquired by Apple Inc. in 1996. Previously, many believed that Forstall could even take the reins as Apple’s CEO. So, what went wrong for Forstall?
One of the major contributing factors to Apple’s internal senior staff restructuring is said to derive from differing opinions of skeuomorphism, or the inclusion of certain design elements that were once crucial in the original product design, but are no longer instrumental. Both Forstall, and the late Steve Jobs, apparently supported skeuomorphism and were opposed by other executives, such as Jonathan Ive (Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design), which caused opposing groups to form.
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.
Furthermore, as reported by the New York Times, Forstall incurred the wrath of other Apple executives by exceeding the duties required by his role as the Vice President of iOS software and taking an interest in product development, which wasn’t his place. Ultimately though, according to numerous sources, the major reason behind Forstall’s termination was likely his refusal to publicly apologize for the iOS 6 Apple Maps scandal. Similar to what Steve Jobs’ stance likely would have been, Forstall believed there was a way to address the problem without apologizing, thus saving the company some humiliation.
With Scott Forstall leaving Apple in 2013, he has since been stripped of his previous title, is no longer featured on Apple’s page of executive profiles and will reportedly serve as an advisor to Tim Cook in the interim. As previously mentioned, the iOS responsibilities will be divvied up and shared between Ive, Mansfield, Federighi and Cue. Also, with Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail (John Browett) defecting immediately, Apple’s retail staff is said to be temporarily reporting directly to Time Cook until a suitable replacement is found – the search is currently underway.
As part of this drastic restructuring, Apple will no longer separate products into different teams, but rather divide the responsibility for product development across three devisions, each of which will be led by a long-term Apple executive. Each division is required to work in synchronous with one another before a product is released. Hopefully, this new change will result in higher-quality products and more significant updates and refreshes than some of the ones we’ve seen in years past.
Stay tuned for complete coverage on Apple and the upcoming products they’ll inevitably release under this new regime.