Scott Forstall's refusal to sign iOS Maps apology letter contributed to departure, sources say

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
According to numerous reports from inside sources, Apple's departing iOS chief Scott Forstall refused to sign an apology letter regarding the shortcomings of iOS Maps, possibly contributing to the executive's ousting.

Unnamed sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN and The Verge that Forstall's actions following the release of iOS 6 and the ensuing iOS Maps debacle could have sealed his fate at Apple.

Passbook 1
Departing Apple SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall demonstrating the iOS 6 Passbook app.


It was reported earlier on Monday that Forstall, along with SVP of Retail John Browett, would be leaving Apple, representing a major shift in the company's leadership. While the reasoning behind the departures will likely remain confidential, speculation has suggested the two executives failed to perform their duties in a manner befitting the Cupertino tech giant.

The most recent rumblings have come from insiders who claim Forstall, who is in charge of iOS Software and thus responsible for Maps, refused to sign an apology letter sent out by Apple shortly after the OS was released and subsequently panned by reviewers and consumers alike. When the letter came out, the signature of Apple CEO Tim Cook stood alone, with Forstall's noticeably absent.

Sources told WSJ that the executive argued Apple could forego an apology, and likened the situation to an antenna attenuation problem with the iPhone 4, dubbed "antennagate." A corresponding report from The Verge suggests Forstall denied the issues with iOS maps were significant enough to cause such widespread criticism.

While Forstall was known to be abrasive when dealing with colleagues and created friction with other company heads, late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was able to manage his sometimes polarizing nature. It seems Cook either had a harder time dealing with Forstall or simply saw it fit to excuse him from Apple due to a number of reasons. And it's quite possible that Forstall's refusal to apologize for the Maps debacle was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 170


    AND RIGHTLY SO!



    Screw that. They don't have to apologize for ANYTHING. He knows how good it WILL be; why would he apologize for that? That's like Einstein's parents apologizing because their two year old was 'unruly'. Put it in context and it's not really important.

  • Reply 2 of 170


    Let the douchebag speculations begin.

  • Reply 3 of 170
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    AND RIGHTLY SO!

    Screw that. They don't have to apologize for ANYTHING. He knows how good it WILL be; why would he apologize for that? That's like Einstein's parents apologizing because their two year old was 'unruly'. Put it in context and it's not really important.

    They did have to apologize. Just as I was stating since the first Beta, it wasn't the same experience that they showcased during the demo. Whether that is Forestall's doing or not, Apple had to apologize for raising expectations well above was feasible for their entry into a maps service.

    Now Apple Maps is good, it's not Google Maps good on the backend, but it's still good with many great aspects to it, and as we've discussed ad nauseum they had no choice but to release this year to bring iOS out of the lack of TbT and bitmaps that we would have been saddled with for another year if they had stuck with Google Maps.

    So giving Forestall the benefit of the doubt here and suggesting that he wanted a more timid Maps demo that didn't happen and sometimes you have to take one for the team so I think he should have signed the apology.
  • Reply 4 of 170
    There's any number of reasons why Forstall is no longer with Apple. I doubt the Maps issue was the sole reason, if even a reason at all. As the article says, we'll never really know why.

    It will be interesting to see how the "new" management works to keep Apple on course.
  • Reply 5 of 170
    I have to say I did not find the program nearly as bad as some tried to make it. In fact for me it was better at routing me than the Google Maps app for iOS was.
  • Reply 6 of 170
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,316member


    I wouldn't have signed it either. It was a bullshit apology letter that validated the hyper-sensationalized, click-whore articles and noise made by thousands of trolls. Sure, the product isn't perfect. But the letter was worded in a way that would have made it very difficult for me to sign if Id worked on the product for years and was proud of what was accomplished. It was basically 'yeah, our product sucks, we're sorry but we'll try better next time.


     


    **** that. I wish Forstall the best whatever he does. I believe that after Jobs, he's the most responsible for Apple's post 2007 explosion. That credit can't go to Ive. Macs have always had great hardware design, that hasnt increased their sales in any major way. Apple's current success is 95% attributable to iOS and the appstore. And Forstall had done an insanely incredible job with that, making them the most successful mobile OS and digital store on the planet. Not something to be scoffed at. iOS has also gotten steadily more powerful and feature filled, making careful changes while also preserving simplicity and intuitiveness. Thats also huge. The unceremonial dismissal of Forstall makes me sick, as is all the giddiness about his dismissal. Good thing these forums weren't available when SJ was forced out, I have no doubt the 'good riddance' comments would be identical. 

  • Reply 7 of 170


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    They did have to apologize. Just as I was stating since the first Beta, it wasn't the same experience that they showcased during the demo. Whether that is Forestall's doing or not, Apple had to apologize for raising expectations well above was feasible for their entry into a maps service.


     


    Would you have preferred it advertised as "we're not as good as Google" or advertised identically with this in the corner? 


     


    image


     


    Pretend… that it says "Beta".

  • Reply 8 of 170
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Would you have preferred it advertised as "we're not as good as Google" or advertised identically with this in the corner? 

    I would have preferred they presented the service exactly as we should expect it. This was very un-Apple of them. This was more like how Android and Windows-based vendors will advertise how something but then you try and it does it very poorly thus ruining the user experience. There is a lot to love about Apple Maps and it was the right move to make but they should have made sure they presented exactly would they could deliver to prevent the bad press they ultimately received. Much of it was avoidable.
  • Reply 9 of 170
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Sign a letter? What the hell? If it was his department- it's his fault- why force the guy to sign a letter? You aren't writing up a technician for being late or for sexual harassment. What an immature move on Apples part. Sign a letter? I'd tellem it was my department- I take the blame, but they can take that letter and shove it!
  • Reply 10 of 170


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    I would have preferred they presented the service exactly as we should expect it.


     


    So more like it's pitched on its own page now, and less using of the marketing wordplay they originally had and used in keynotes? Taking it a step further, NOT using said wordplay in the keynotes at all, and simply pitching what they'd built it to do… ugh, what's the Latin phrase here. Two words… means "as operated" or… it's not in situ, but it's close to that… 

  • Reply 11 of 170


    More meat for the grinder.


     


    Cook better get his shit together.

     

  • Reply 12 of 170
    Steve Jobs would never sign an apology letter.
  • Reply 13 of 170


    Scott is leaving a rich man. Screw Apple!


    Apple was too damn eager to put that iso map out. I'm sure Scott told them it wasn't ready but you know Tim, them fingers went snapping all in Scott's face.  But Scott knew he was already a rich man.


    Tim Cook is going to destroy Apple.

  • Reply 14 of 170
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    So more like it's pitched on its own page now, and less using of the marketing wordplay they originally had and used in keynotes? Taking it a step further, NOT using said wordplay in the keynotes at all, and simply pitching what they'd built it to do… ugh, what's the Latin phrase here. Two words… means "as operated" or… it's not in situ, but it's close to that… 

    Yes. I think that could have prevented any issue which would have meant no apology if they had presented it differently.
  • Reply 15 of 170
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    I don't think the general public would have known who Scott was, so an apology by him would be almost meaningless. It made sense for Tim to do the letter. Maybe Scott disagreed with the apology and left, but I don't think him signing or not signing a letter would be why he was fired/left.
  • Reply 16 of 170
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Steve Jobs would never sign an apology letter.

    I suppose you could be technically accurate for using the word signed but Steve has stated regret and used the word "apology" multiple times as CEO of Apple.


    Note: Not all Apple's fault, just find ones where Steve has expressed something akin to an apology publicly.


    edit: Here is a list of 20 from Apple: http://www.informationweek.com/hardware/apple-macintosh/apples-top-20-public-apologies/240008177
  • Reply 17 of 170
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member


    Forstall leaves Apple, so what? What is the point of gossiping about it.


     


    For my money I couldn't give a rat's arse whether apple gains or loses market share in anything, neither who hates or who loves Apple. Apple has been providing me with the most elegant and enjoyable computer experience for well over 15 years now from G4 towers, emac, G5imacs and now a georgous 27 inch iMac, and it's only getting better. I don't think any of that is going to change.


  • Reply 18 of 170
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,619member
    I'm not buying this. It just doesn't sound right. Sign an apology letter?? To whom? Where would this letter go? To Tim Cook? In Scott's HR file?? What purpose does it serve??

    What next? Have him write on a chalkboard "I will not release before it's time" a thousand times??!! Maybe Tim Cook should sign one too for never having enough inventory on product launch?!!!

    This one sounds like a total fabrication. Sorry Solips, you're betting on black but I'm putting my chips on red. :)
  • Reply 19 of 170
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,316member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post


    Forstall leaves Apple, so what? What is the point of gossiping about it.


     


    For my money I couldn't give a rat's arse whether apple gains or loses market share in anything, neither who hates or who loves Apple. Apple has been providing me with the most elegant and enjoyable computer experience for well over 15 years now from G4 towers, emac, G5imacs and now a georgous 27 inch iMac, and it's only getting better. I don't think any of that is going to change.




     


    And Forstall is hugely responsible for that experience on all iOS devices as wel as OSX. He's been there since NEXT. Thats the point. 

  • Reply 20 of 170


    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

    Sign an apology letter?? To whom? Where would this letter go?


     


    It would have been Scott Forstall's name on the public letter about Maps instead of Tim Cook's.

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