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Management bombshell at Apple: Software chief Scott Forstall out

by David Needle

October 29 2012

As part of a management shakeup, Apple's head design honcho Jonathan Ive, will have more responsibility.
As part of a management shakeup, Apple's head design honcho Jonathan Ive, will have more responsibility.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has replaced the head of Apple’s software and its retail groups in an executive shakeup sure to be the talk of Silicon Valley.

The biggest name in the shakeup is software chief Scott Forstall, once thought to be an heir-apparent to Steve Jobs. Forstall oversaw the launch of the flawed mapping software in the recent iOS 6 release.

Apple said Forstall will leave Apple next year and serve as an advisor to Cook in the interim.

A Reuters report on the shakeup said Forstall was known to be a “polarizing figure” within Apple. The company made no mention of why specific people were leaving the company, but pointedly said the moves were designed to “increase collaboration across hardware, software & services” in a release on the changes.

(UPDATE: Forstall was asked to leave Apple after he refused to sign his name to a letter, later signed by CEO Cook, apologizing for the bugs in Apple's mapping service, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cited "people familiar with the matter.")

Apple also announced that John Browett is leaving Apple and the company is actively looking for a new head of Retail to replace him.

Winners in the shakeup include design chief Jony Ive and Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. 

Apple said 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,” Apple said.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri and Maps, placing all of Apple’s online services in one group.  Apple noted that Cue’s organization has already had great success with the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and iCloud.

“This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers,” Apple said. 

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