Forstall's firing reportedly met with 'quiet jubilation' at Apple

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Employees at Apple are said to be extremely satisfied with the ouster of iOS software chief Scott Forstall, who had apparently worn out his welcome at the company.

Sources familiar with the situation told GigaOm's Om Malik that Forstall's firing was met with a sense of "quiet jubilation," particularly among those who worked in Apple's engineering groups. One person quipped that a number of employees were going out for "celebratory drinks, even if there is a little bit of doubt about their roles in the future."

Forstall's departure from Apple was also said to be "fairly last minute." A number of employees at Apple's iOS and OS X teams only learned the news minutes before the press release was released to the public on Monday, and engineers were "caught off guard."

Employees are also said to be excited about designer Jony Ive taking over the new human interface group, while many feel that Craig Federighi needs to prove himself in heading both the iOS and OS X teams.

Forstall and Jobs

Steve Jobs takes the stage from Scott Forstall at WWDC | source:

While Forstall was said to be close with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, none of the remaining executives particularly cared for Forstall. Ive, in particular, was said to have had a "rocky relationship" with Forstall.

Earlier reports also revealed that one significant reason why Forstall is out at Apple is because of his apparent refusal to sign an apology letter for the quality of the new Apple Maps application in iOS 6. When the letter was issued to the public, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was the only signature included.


  • Reply 1 of 127

    Just when I thought the click-whoring over ‘mapgate’ was dying down…

    Oh, for the love of Pete!




    For the record, if anything like all this rampant speculation even happened, I hope he did refuse to sign the maps apology letter. Steve should never have supplied free bumpers in the wake of ‘antenna-gate’ either.


    Antenna-gate was made up bullshit; the new maps rock.


    Go whine to your mom about a melted looking bridge, wussies!

  • Reply 2 of 127
    cykzcykz Posts: 81member
    Let's not start the discussion again about the UI. And value OSX and iOS for what it's worth.
  • Reply 3 of 127

    I love the turn-by-turn navigation of the new Maps application, and if that means that other areas are a little rough, although I haven't experienced any issues, that's a fair trade-off in my estimation.

  • Reply 4 of 127

    Shameless speculation.
    Yeah, rumor site, i know why i am here.

  • Reply 5 of 127
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member

    Gruber (IMO) said exactly what I was thinking on the subject...almost word for word from my head (so to speak):




    Blockbuster executive leadership change at Apple; Scott Forstall has been shown the door. Here’s the key paragraph:


    Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.


    Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. […] Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X.


    Forstall has long been a polarizing executive within Apple. Remember this piece by Austin Carr for Fast Company six weeks ago, on the tensions within the company regarding skeuomorphic UI design?:


    Inside Apple, tension has brewed for years over the issue. Apple iOS SVP Scott Forstall is said to push for skeuomorphic design, while industrial designer Jony Ive and other Apple higher-ups are said to oppose the direction. “You could tell who did the product based on how much glitz was in the UI,” says one source intimately familiar with Apple’s design process.


    But before Forstall, it was Steve Jobs who encouraged the skeuomorphic approach, some say.


    The biggest tell, though, might have been this interview with Jony Ive by Shane Richmond for The Telegraph, back in May:


    When I mention the fake stitching, Ive offers a wince but it’s a gesture of sympathy rather than a suggestion that he dislikes such things. At least, that’s how I read it. He refuses to be drawn on the matter, offering a diplomatic reply: “My focus is very much working with the other teams on the product ideas and then developing the hardware and so that’s our focus and that’s our responsibility. In terms of those elements you’re talking about, I’m not really connected to that.”


    He’s connected to it now.


    Forstall has been around for a long time: he started at NeXT in the early ’90s and had been involved in the evolution of NeXTStep, Mac OS X, and iOS ever since. That makes it all the more telling that Apple’s press release contains no quote from Tim Cook offering kind words or thanks to Forstall. Compare and contrast to the quote from Cook when Mansfield’s (now cancelled) retirement was announced in May, or the personal quote from Bertrand Serlet when he stepped down in March 2011. Forstall is not walking away; he was pushed. Potential factors that worked against Forstall: his design taste, engineering management, abrasive style, and the whole iOS 6 Maps thing. I also wonder how much Forstall was effectively protected by his close relationship with Steve Jobs — protection which, obviously, no longer exists.


    Say this for Forstall, though: he’s been in charge of iOS from its inception, and my understanding is that he, along with Bertrand Serlet, were the leading proponents of using OS X as the foundation of the iPhone (as opposed to something more like the embedded OS that runs iPods other than the Touch). No one is more excited than I am to see Jony Ive’s design taste spread to Apple’s software, but under Forstall’s leadership, iOS has been an unprecedented success.


    In what was almost a mere postscript to the press release, Apple also announced that they’ve canned retail chief John Browett, whose performance has garnered zero acclaim. Canning Forstall is a big change; Browett, on the other hand, is still so new that he never even got around to managing a single holiday quarter. I wouldn’t read anything more into Browett’s departure than that Tim Cook knows how to recognize a mistake and correct it. (Although it was Cook who hired Browett in the first place.)


    One of the things I admire about Apple is their plainspokenness, both in advertising and in press releases. Just today I linked to a piece by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic, in which he makes the interesting observation that Apple’s quarterly earnings releases contain remarkably fewer words than other large corporations. At first glance, the headline of the press release announcing Forstall’s departure seemed to go against this: “Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services”. That was followed by a subhead: “Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Add Responsibilities to Their Roles”.


    Thinking about it some more, though, and considering what I know about Forstall’s reputation within the company, I think that headline, euphemistic though it is, tells the plain truth: Forstall was an obstacle to collaboration within the company. Now he’s gone, and his responsibilities are being divided between four men who foster collaboration: Ive, Mansfield, Cue, and Federighi.


    Federighi, like Forstall, dates back to NeXT, and has moved up the ladder quickly after returning to Apple in 2009. Mansfield has had a curious year — five months ago he was retiring, then he un-retired, and now he’s taking over a new “Technologies” group encompassing all wireless and semiconductor engineering. Who better to take over Maps than Eddy Cue, the guy who took over the disaster that was MobileMe and turned it into the far-from-perfect-but-pretty-good-overall and steadily improving iCloud?


    But the big news today is about Jony Ive. I don’t think it can be overstated just how big a deal it is that he now oversees all product design, hardware and software. For the last year, outside observers have been left to wonder just where the buck stopped for UI design at post-Jobs Apple. That question has now been answered: Jony Ive.

  • Reply 6 of 127
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    If this is true (the firing), it's still bad news. Everyone knows Forestall was a bit of a jerk, that's not a good reason to let him go and Jony Ive knows nothign about software.

    I don't believe it anyway as it doesn't explain why he cashed out all his shares a while ago does it? He expected to be fired? He asked to be fired?
  • Reply 7 of 127

    Confirms that maps was a big a disaster within the company. Denial leads to trashing of anyone with complaints.

  • Reply 8 of 127
    dilliodillio Posts: 106member
    I guess I was wrong about Scott. Initially I thought he was an as$hole just like Steve Jobs. Turns out he was just a hole, without as$.
  • Reply 9 of 127
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member

    Personally, I think limiting the skeuomorphic design trend is a good one. There are some places where it works well like Garageband and the iPhone's Compass. Then there are places where it is a distraction and actually makes the user experience worse. The key is knowing when to use it and when to lose it. Eye candy was coming at the expense of a good end-user experience.


    The Maps issue is overblown. Yes there are problems. No they don't affect everyone. There is room to improve Maps for sure, give it time to mature. I love how fast it is and how little data it uses and it's never let me down, so put me in the happy camp. I understand that it's shortcomings and problems for others make it near unusable. Put them in the unhappy camp. I don't think that Maps deserves the black eye that it's received. It's not perfect and likely should have been called a beta, while keeping Google Maps for a while longer.

  • Reply 10 of 127
    gazoobee wrote: »
    If this is true (the firing), it's still bad news. Everyone knows Forestall was a bit of a jerk, that's not a good reason to let him go and Jony Ive knows nothign about software.
    I don't believe it anyway as it doesn't explain why he cashed out all his shares a while ago does it? He expected to be fired? He asked to be fired?

    He does use software to design hardware..

    His new additional job isn't software engineering, it's user interface. He is a an Industrial Designer but a DESIGNER none the less. No matter how good and smart Forstall is, it looks like he has become a deterrent to good and collaborative working environment and that is a kind of toxic that can destroy a company.

    I'm excited how Ive's hardware style translates to software design.
  • Reply 11 of 127
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    If this is true (the firing), it's still bad news. Everyone knows Forestall was a bit of a jerk, that's not a good reason to let him go and Jony Ive knows nothign about software.
    I don't believe it anyway as it doesn't explain why he cashed out all his shares a while ago does it? He expected to be fired? He asked to be fired?
    god forbid we allow people to branch out and expand their skills/duties. No Ive isn't a software engineer but does he need to be? Good design is good design. And I'm sure he'll have a group of highly qualified software engineers to make vision reality, and who knows perhaps part of this role has to do with Apple's plans in the TV space.
  • Reply 12 of 127
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member

    Bad pun - but one bad apple can spoil the bunch, as my grandmother says.


    If Forstall wasn't collaborating, then he had to go.  Sounds like the team has figured out how to divvy his work.  Mansfield and Ive are quite capable, as well as the others.

  • Reply 13 of 127
    jmc54jmc54 Posts: 207member

    Is the british wal-mart guy still there? The one who wants to cut jobs at the expense of customer experiance? Names escapes me, but if he's still there, hope he's next!!


  • Reply 14 of 127

    People understandably are rooting for Ive because of his good reputation in hardware designs. But to me, that's not very relevant. In the end, Cook needs to step up as the CEO, he's the person who's ultimately responsible for all the mistakes made during his time as CEO. Everyone makes mistakes, Ive is not God, it's Cook's ability to manage possible problems over time that'd determine how well AAPL can do overall going forward. 

  • Reply 15 of 127
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member

    Since I'm here I may as well post. There I did it. Pretty crap pointless post but really I don't think anyone much cares about this topic any more.


    So let's make a toast to the new king of OS design Sir Jonathan or was it Lord Ive, I can't remember.

  • Reply 16 of 127

    Sounds to me like Forstall was Jobs boy, followed Steve from NeXt and followed Steve's design cues.


    It sounds like he also followed Steve's career path... booted out the door by the new CEO. I would imagine that there was "quiet jubilation" amongst quite a few when Sculley sent Jobs packing in the 80s.


    Apple is definitely Cook's baby now.

  • Reply 17 of 127
    HAHAHAHA. They realized iOS and OSX need converge instead of diverge. MS/Win8 showed them the way once again.
  • Reply 18 of 127
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    If this is true (the firing), it's still bad news. Everyone knows Forestall was a bit of a jerk, that's not a good reason to let him go and Jony Ive knows nothign about software.

    Just because Ive wasn't working with software doesn't equal him knowing nothing about it. He knew evough to question all the fluff. Forstall was so enamored of that crap he let out an iOS 6 that broke previously working features, resulted in an almost unusable Music App, destroyed wifi on a noticeable amount of iPhone 4 and 4s units and that whole cell data thing still hasn't been fixed on all carriers.

    Add in his ego etc and its a recipe for firing. Unlike Ive, Forstall's place wasn't apparently put in writing but he was still banking on being such a close buddy with Steve cause of that 'I was at NeXT' history to keep his place. But he wasn't showing respect to the guy that Steve groomed to be CEO and endorsed as such or the guy Steve counted on for design. Apparently Forstall was also not remembering that even Steve listened and let folks try to change his mind and didn't shit talk about folks. Rumor has it that Forstall more than once sent letters to his team saying Cook etc were not making the right decisions or leading the company the right way, not cool. But Steve would hold you accountable for your mistakes and iOS 6 if full of them, aside from the whole Maps thing. Which be partly the result of Forstall promising everything was ready when parts at least weren't.

    As for the shares, he was smart enough to know the bubble would break and sold while they were high.
  • Reply 19 of 127
    Good show. Maybe now we can get some more useful features in the Mail app (Sparrow anyone?!) or the friggin' lock screen? Get with the program and innovate on the basic level, so that I can keep on saying: "Shut up and take my money already!" Glad to see Jony Ive behind the wheel on software too.
  • Reply 20 of 127


    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

    If this is true (the firing), it's still bad news. Everyone knows Forestall was a bit of a jerk, that's not a good reason to let him go and Jony Ive knows nothign about software.

    I don't believe it anyway as it doesn't explain why he cashed out all his shares a while ago does it? He expected to be fired? He asked to be fired?



    First, Apple has a deep bench.  Having Forstall gone is not a big deal.  Jon Ive is an extremely talented guy.  Much of Apple's success is marketing and superior design/human interaction.  Having Ive a bigger say in design of Apple's products is actually good news.  The only issue with Forstall is he knows too much about the future products of Apple.  Cook is offering him "big money" to ask him to stay for a short while so that the sensitive info that may have may no longer be sensitive.  Don't cry for Forstall...he will land in some place to be a CEO of his company.  I don't think that he wants to work for Google or Samsung.

Sign In or Register to comment.