The Wall Street Journal has new details about the sudden departure from Apple of Scott Forstall, the company’s senior vice president of iOS (the mobile software that runs the iPad and iPhone): Forstall was reportedly “asked to leave” after refusing to sign his name to a public apology letter over Apple’s glitchy maps app that Apple CEO Tim Cook signed and published on Apple’s website in late September, following an outcry among users over bad directions and other misinformation in the app.
Forstall, described as Apple’s “CEO-in-waiting” in a recent book for the enormous influence he accrued toward the end of Steve Jobs’ reign, had reportedly been the source of tension within Apple’s executive ranks for years. But it was his role in developing and then refusing to atone for Apple Maps that was his final undoing. As the Wall Street Journal describes the situation:
The tension came to a head over maps. Mr. Forstall’s team had been working to replace Google Maps on the iPhone for years. After Apple released its software to the public in September, users immediately complained about data inaccuracies 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.
Forstall first presented Apple Maps and was in charge of its development, leading the Business Insider to suggest as early as September 28 that it was terrible news for Forstall’s career at Apple. Apple senior VP of Internet software and services Eddy Cue is now taking over Maps and Siri, Apple said in a statement Monday.