Scott Forstall's leadership of iOS, Siri, Maps and user interface revoked

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's executive realignment has left Scott Forstall, once considered the company's chief executive heir apparent, as a temporary advisor to Tim Cook over the next year, and shifting his duties to other executives.

Forstall takes over iOS

Forstall came to Apple from NeXT, following the 1996 acquisition that restored Steve Jobs to the company's leadership and set the architects of Jobs' NeXTSTEP operating system to work in revamping Apple's ailing Macintosh platform with NeXT's advanced technology.

At Apple, Forstall led the design of Aqua, the new user interface and appearance of Mac OS X that reflected the translucent, brightly colored plastics of Apple's new iMac, iBook and refreshed Power Mac systems. Apple has been scaling back Aqua ever since, stripping most of its remains in Mountain Lion.

Leopard


Through the first half of the 2000s, Forstall worked on the development of OS X under Bertrand Serlet as Apple's new iPod gained prominence. When the company began developing plans to enter the smartphone market, a conflict reportedly arose of whether it would be based on the iPod's simple, embedded Linux-based system or use a scaled down version of OS X.


Scott Forstall


Apple SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall


In 2005, Forstall championed the use of OS X, in opposition to the iPod group lead by Tony Fadell. Jobs had the two groups develop competitive prototypes, and ultimately selected OS X because it would give Apple a highly customizable mobile OS that would share technology with its desktop products.

Forstall assumed control of the mobile version of OS X, which was later branded iOS, and worked on bringing the App Store to market. He was named the senior vice president of iOS in 2008, working alongside Serlet, who continued management of OS X. Forstall was also granted 120,000 shares at the time, which he recently sold off most of the remaining second half of this summer, netting $38.7 million.

OS X continues in parallel

The next year, Serlet recruited former NeXT and Apple engineer Craig Federighi back to Apple, and by 2011, Serlet announced plans to retire, leaving Federighi in charge of OS X.

"Craig has done a great job managing the Mac OS team for the past two years," Serlet said at the time. "Lion is a great release and the transition should be seamless."

Three months ago, Federighi was officially promoted to senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, the title formerly held by Serlet. His inclusion into Apple's Executive Team ended any basis for speculating that OS X would "die really soon."

Apple spreads Forstall's tasks around

Described as an effort to "encourage even more collaboration between the Company's world-class hardware, software and services teams," Apple's announcement of Forstall's departure next year suggests that despite his important contributions at Apple, he wasn't fitting into the management team well.

Forstall had also skirted blame for an increasing number of issues, ranging from a decision to allow engineers to take prototypes off campus for real world testing (resulting in the leak of iPhone 4) to complaints and friction about the design of apps (generating both internal and public criticism of "skeuomorphic" designs) to the premature release of software ranging from iOS 6 Maps to Passbook.

Apple announced Federighi would be taking over management of iOS in addition to OS X, with Cook noting to employees that "we have the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems on the planet, and bringing together our OS teams will make it even easier to deliver our best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms."

Apple's highly decorated, minimalist designer Jony Ive will also be expanding his role from hardware design to additionally "provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company."

Ive and Forstall reportedly didn't get along well, with Forstall pushing more ornate designs reflecting his work on Aqua and recent efforts to wrap apps in leather or introduce animations such as the shredder in Passbook.

Cook wrote that "Jony has an incredible design aesthetic and has been the driving force behind the look and feel of our products for more than a decade. The face of many of our products is our software and the extension of Jony?s skills into this area will widen the gap between Apple and our competition."


Apple Leadership


Apple's new Leadership page. | Source: Apple


Two other products that were outgrowths of iOS, Maps and Siri, are being take over by Eddy Cue, who managed the development of iTunes. Cue had previously taken over the troubled MobileMe, successfully transforming it to become iCloud, as well as leading the redevelopment of Apple's various media stores.

Cook wrote that the move "places all of our online services in one group. Eddy and his organization have overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and iCloud. They have an excellent track record of building and strengthening our online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers."

Cook's decisive shifts within a secretive company

In January, Adam Lashinsky of Fortune predicted that Forstall would soon replace Cook as Apple's chief executive, indicating how little is actually known about what's going on inside the secretive company.

Cook told Apple employees "I want to thank Scott for all of his many contributions to Apple over his career," and noted that Forstall "will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to me during the interim."

Last winter, Apple awarded Forstall and other top executives a retention bonus of 150,000 shares if they stayed with the company for the next five years. Forstall shares don't begin to vest until June 2013, and if he leaves as scheduled, he won't get the majority of those shares, currently worth more than $90 million.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member


    I couldn't believe the headlines of the article on AI that Forstall and the other guy were out. I wasn't sure if it was some joke and it certainly was not April Fools Day. Wow. Had to take a couple of double-takes on that.


     


    I think Forstall drank the cool-aid and believed everything the fantasies in his head told him. We all know about how dated iOS is looking, about how a lot hasn't changed. The App Store is terrible to use now, and so on. 


     


    This guy has probably never had a really difficult time in his life. Maybe getting booted out of Apple will teach him some lessons Jobs had to learn after getting booted himself. 


     


    And I think we never heard anything good about Browett.


     


    If you are going to put a certain look on your apps to make Game Center look like bad poker or Notes to look like legal paper, at least give us the power to change the skins on those apps!!!


     


    Also, why can't I make Chrome my default browser in iOS? I really do prefer it far better than Safari.


     


    And Siri, I try to use it, but too many failures and I have realized its easier to just type out what I need done. Maybe I need to read the manual. But please don't promote Siri as the best thing since sliced bread.


     


    By brother has a cheapo Android phone on Virgin Mobile and he can get voice control to work great. Asks Google how to get to the closest pizza place, and it gives him directions.


     


    Why do you need an iPhone 4S for Siri and turn by turn to work? Why the planned obsolescence so soon in a product? 

  • Reply 2 of 40


    Originally Posted by pfisher View Post


    We all know about how dated iOS is looking



     


    Would you just leave? Come on.

  • Reply 3 of 40

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Would you just leave? Come on.



    I do agree with the previous poster regarding one thing - the App Store is terrible to use now, at least on the iPhone.

  • Reply 4 of 40
    Frankly, I loved Aqua and didn't like seeing the blue go away release after release...I enjoyed wanting to lick my OS X system icons and buttons...that said I haven't been happy with iOS trends in design for a while, and in a place where you really have to be part of a team, it sounded like Forstall wasn't built for that environment.

    Good move overall Mr. Cook, but this is a talented guy we're leaving behind here. Mr. Ive sounds good, if he can handle being part of software development, hopefully it'll work out good - as I'd like to see iOS toned down with a good dose of Jony's preferences.

    We'll miss you Scott and all the tremendous work you've done (remember him introducing iOS on stage at the iPhone rollout). Best of luck to wherever you go.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    rpsxrpsx Posts: 46member


    i hope this finally spells the end of "skeuomorphism" at apple.


     


    i thought it was terrible from day 1, but there could have been some justification (new touch screen UI, new-type of way of interaction to ease people into, and make them feel comfortable). but, now - no justification at all. touch-screen UIs are nothing new.


     


    re-creating real-world materials with pixels on the screen is simply mimicry - which is the opposite of authenticity. it's always looked out of place next to the industrial design of all their products. i still heave at the thought of the "brushed metal" texture in OSX. i really hope they get a qualified UI-focused graphic designer somewhere high up to complement mr. ive's ID expertise.

  • Reply 6 of 40
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,371member


    Wow.  This is major company news about the future of Apple, and I'm sure those who know more (and some who know less) will wring it out in this thread. 



    So my comment's just a side note:  seeing the whole senior team pictured, my first thought was that the executive team at Apple is certainly an all boys' club. 


     


    Just asking, then, and not taking the company to task, 'cos I'm by no means a "quota" guy, does Apple have any promising near-senior execs of the female (or for that matter, minority) persuasion??  And is Apple typical or atypical - compared to say MS, Google, Amazon and others in its target markets - in this regard??

     

  • Reply 7 of 40


    Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post

    I do agree with the previous poster regarding one thing - the App Store is terrible to use now, at least on the iPhone.


     


    I left that off as I've not had a real chance to try it yet. I dislike all iterations simply because none have… …say it with me… 


     


    …subcategories of subcategories of subcategories! 700,000 apps and "Education" is the best they can do? Maybe I don't want early childhood education. And maybe I have absolutely no idea what the name of the app I want is. Maybe I don't know that the app that I really do want even EXISTS. I shouldn't have to know. I should be able to find it, piece of cake. I can't right now.

  • Reply 8 of 40
    I bet Scott Forstall was blindsided by this move. Why would he think he was a target when he's done so much for Apple for so long?

    I hope he goes to work for a company making apps for Android. Maybe he could go to Amazon and make the Kindle's into really great devices. With all of his knowledge I bet Amazon would make really great devices if they got him over there.

    Google would probably love to get him. Google Play could use some work too. If he integrated their system into something cohesive it would really take off and give Apple a worthy competitor.

    This really could be a big mistake by Tim Cook. After all, he hired the retail guy with the crappy history of destroying companies for the sake of the share holders.

    I think this advisory position is just to avoid legal problems and to make the firing seem less nasty than it really is. It's a PR move.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member


    That's really too bad.  I like Scott a lot.  He was a natural leader.  Oh well Apple.  There's plenty of Silicon Valley companies that will snatch him up in a heartbeat. 

  • Reply 10 of 40

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sasparilla View Post



    Frankly, I loved Aqua and didn't like seeing the blue go away release after release...I enjoyed wanting to lick my OS X system icons and buttons...that said I haven't been happy with iOS trends in design for a while, and in a place where you really have to be part of a team, it sounded like Forstall wasn't built for that environment.

    Good move overall Mr. Cook, but this is a talented guy we're leaving behind here. Mr. Ive sounds good, if he can handle being part of software development, hopefully it'll work out good - as I'd like to see iOS toned down with a good dose of Jony's preferences.

    We'll miss you Scott and all the tremendous work you've done (remember him introducing iOS on stage at the iPhone rollout). Best of luck to wherever you go.


    Ive is not going to in charge of software development.  He's been put in charge of the design direction for hardware & software.  So don't expect him to start coding in Objective-C anytime soon.  I'm cautiously optimistic as to how he'll do in terms of directing the UI design for iOS and OSX.

  • Reply 11 of 40


    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

    I bet Scott Forstall was blindsided by this move.


     


    He was not. If anything, this was on HIS terms, with Cook's reluctant agreement.






    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

    Google would probably love to get him.





    Of course they would. Having the ACTUAL CREATOR of the OS they STOLE instead of having to reverse engineer it? 


     


    I somehow doubt Forstall can (or would) work for Google, however.

  • Reply 12 of 40
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Maps is awesome- I don't card what anyone else says. I don't have the need for street view, I love Turn by turn, it's much easier on the eyes- and mainly- it's WAY faster

    Now passbook on the otherhand- what a frickin joke. Came out way too early- so much potential but no way to use it because there's no apps with it. A dozen- almost 6 months after announcement? Major mess-up. Why does maps get the news when passbook should?
  • Reply 13 of 40


    If we're going to complain about something regarding software, like maps and passbook, I'd still like to know why Facetime hasn't been released as an open standard yet. That was part of iOS. It's not Scott's fault but I still want to know.

  • Reply 14 of 40


    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

    …I'd still like to know why Facetime hasn't been released as an open standard yet. 


     


    Would anyone actually support it, anyway? Microsoft bought Skype, so as stupid as Skype was before, they'll never support it now. Microsoft pre-Skype wouldn't have supported it in Windows Live Messenger, Google wouldn't have supported it, and that leaves… 




    RIM, I guess. 

  • Reply 15 of 40
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,684member


    It's hard to know how any of this is going to play out.  It seems like these changes might address some of the complaints about Apple's software/OS I have read here on AI over and over again.  The assignment of Ive to Human Interface sounds like a great idea to me.  I remember that interview where he is asked about some of the skeuomorphic BS in iOS and he visibly winces.  Jony will set things right.

  • Reply 16 of 40

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bigpics View Post


    Wow.  This is major company news about the future of Apple, and I'm sure those who know more (and some who know less) will wring it out in this thread. 



    So my comment's just a side note:  seeing the whole senior team pictured, my first thought was that the executive team at Apple is certainly an all boys' club. 


     


    Just asking, then, and not taking the company to task, 'cos I'm by no means a "quota" guy, does Apple have any promising near-senior execs of the female (or for that matter, minority) persuasion??  And is Apple typical or atypical - compared to say MS, Google, Amazon and others in its target markets - in this regard??

     



     


    I'm not a "quota" guy either, but you're right, the team is very male.  They are representative of other similar companies however.  Yahoo! break the trend, though only by having a female CEO - the rest of the 'C' level people are male.


     


    Companies generally aren't doing that well at promoting women, but engineering has a terrible track record of promoting female engineers, which is born of our inability to attract female engineers.


     


    It's actually a serious problem for the profession.  We ask people to do one of the most difficult degrees out there, hence we need the smartest people, yet because we are seen as a "boys" profession, we exclude 50% of the smart people.


     


    As mentioned, I'm not a quota guy, nor would I say I'm an affirmative action guy, but at the same time, I can't come up with another way to solve the problem........


     


    India seems to be doing something right, however.  I've been impressed with the number of staggeringly talented female Indian software engineers I've been meeting lately.  Let's hope that both continues, and leads to an increased representation of women in the boardroom.

  • Reply 17 of 40
    From the sound of the news this is probably not the case, but I'll float the idea anyway. There has been tons of rumors about them developing a radically different Apple TV. Maybe this is just a smoke screen and they are putting Forstall in charge of the project. He did a really good job with the initial release of iOS after all, and it would be tough to run iOS development and this new project at the same time.

    It's probably just what it seems, but it's fun to throw a conspiracy theory out there.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    mactel wrote: »
    That's really too bad.  I like Scott a lot.  He was a natural leader.  Oh well Apple.  There's plenty of Silicon Valley companies that will snatch him up in a heartbeat. 
    Or Microsoft will hire him for a ton of money when they realize that people haven't been waiting for office on windowRT surface. The still want personal apps and games.
  • Reply 19 of 40

    Quote:


    Ive and Forstall reportedly didn't get along well, with Forstall pushing more ornate designs reflecting his work on Aqua and recent efforts to wrap apps in leather or introduce animations such as the shredder in Passbook.





    Forstall is obviously a very talented guy, and I wish him well.  It will be interesting to see how the OSX UI develops after his departure.  I wouldn't mind seeing some of the color return to OSX's UI, but I would be very happy to see gimmicks like the faux-leather trim and ragged torn page in the calendar app go away. 

  • Reply 20 of 40


    Does anyone remember what happened to the MobileMe team after Steve Jobs chewed them out over the epic failure of MobileMe and told them to hate each other?


     


    Yeah, the MobileMe team was DISBANDED, the executives in charge of MobileMe were kicked out, and a new executive was put in charge right on the spot after Steve Jobs told the MobileMe team to hate each other.


     


    If Scott Forstall was in charge of MobileMe, you can bet your Retina Macbook Pro that he would also be kicked out on the spot.  Why should the Apple Maps and Siri be treated any differently than MobileMe?  In fact, I'll bet that Tim Cook told Scott Forstall to hate himself and he refused to hate himself and was kicked out in response.  

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