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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:55

Apple in night of the long knives

Written by Nick Farrell



One bloke fired for refusing to say sorry


There has been a night of the long knives at Apple HQ with two top executives forced out. Apple iOS software chief Scott Forstall was forced out after he refused to sign a letter apologising for problems with Apple Maps.

Forstall apparently did not believe Apple had anything to say sorry for.  After all Steve Jobs did not get where he is today by ever saying sorry. Apple's unpaid press office the New York Times confirmed the firing, along with the unrelated ouster of Apple's new retail chief, John Browett. Apparently forces inside Apple considered Forstall a divisive figure who "never fit into the culture at Apple," and who had miffed other company execs. However he was protected by the fact that Steve Jobs liked him. It was only a matter of time before he was given the boot.

The Wall Street Journal claimed that there was mounting tension with members of Apple's executive ranks. For years, senior executives had complained that he wasn't cooperative and showed off his close relationship with Jobs. Forstall miffed a number of managers by emailing Apple's iOS software team saying that the group wasn't working on enough big ideas in mobile software. This is like admitting that Jobs Mob could not compete in mobile any more, which might be true, but is contrary to the faith-based reality distortion field that surrounds Apple HQ.

Apple has said that Forstall will be replaced by Craig Federighi in 2013. Federighi will oversee both the iOS and OS X groups under one umbrella. We guess it is raining at Cupertino. It is not clear why Browett's left. The UK executive was Cook's first major appointment and, when his recruitment was announced in January, said that Mr Browett had a commitment to customer service "like no one else we've met." Browett relocated to California in April for the job, and was awarded a $56m "golden hello" for joining Apple. Before that he was getting a £1m pay package running Dixons.

Browett had miffed the blue shirts by reducing the number of staff and working hours within stores. However whatever he was doing was working as latest Apple figures indicated progress at the stores, which saw sales climb to $4.2bn in the fourth quarter from $4bn in the third quarter.

Nick Farrell

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