Scott Forstall ‘Refused’ to Sign Apple Maps Apology Letter

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An interesting tidbit in Scott Forstall's ouster at Apple has surfaced saying that the former Apple senior vice president refused to sign a letter of apology over Apple Maps in September. The New York Times, Fortune, and The Verge (which specifically pointed it out), all claim sources saying as much, suggesting that this could have played a role in his departure from Apple.

Scott Forstall Refuses to Sign Apology Letter

TMO Artist's Rendition of the Dramatic Moment

At issue was the rollout of Apple Maps as a replacement for Google Maps on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Apple Maps is a beautiful service that brings all manner of performance enhancements to Apple's iOS devices, but it was rolled out with significant flaws, none of which were mentioned by Scott Forstall when he introduced the service at Apple media events.

Pushback and criticism of the service by customers, critics, fans, and Apple-haters alike led to Apple pulling back on its claim that Apple Maps was the, "most beautiful, powerful mapping service." Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter apologizing for the rollout and promising that Apple Maps would improve over time.

On Monday, Apple announced that Mr. Forstall would depart Apple and that his various fields of responsibility would be split up among Apple's other top executives. In coverage of that shakeup, The New York Times and Fortune both included minor notes that Scott Forstall had refused to put his name on the letter published by Tim Cook.

The Times specified that Mr. Forstall dismissed the criticism that was being heaped on Apple as exaggerated. Fortune said that it "sealed his fate" at Apple, a sentiment echoed at The Verge, which said the reports were backed up by its own sources.

When you add that refusal to recurring reports that Mr. Forstall's management style had angered Apple's other executives and was causing friction with those ranks, it would seem that his departure had become inevitable.

Indeed, it could well be that Hurricane Sandy and the New York Stock Exchange being closed for two days provided the perfect timing for that move to happen now.

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21 Comments Leave Your Own

aardman

Refusing to sign an apology as a matter of pride, especially when your boss is putting down his John Hancock . .  . that’s just hubris.  The apology could at worst have no effect and at best, head off the growing sentiment that Apple is an arrogant company.  If the report is accurate, then Forstall put his personal pride ahead of the good of the company that has given him a fantastic, beyond-your-wildest-dreams living.

Immediately after Steve died, the buzz was that Apple was going to be okay, they will not miss a beat because the executive team genuinely got along and worked well with each other except, yup, Scott Forstall.  Too bad, by all reports he was extremely smart and talented.  I think he tried to out-Steve Steve, not realizing that at Apple only Steve could ever have been Steve.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Here is the difference between Scott Forstall and Jony Ive. Cook asked Forstall to sign an apology letter. Cook doesn’t have the stones to ask Ive to sign anything.

Bryan Chaffin

Brad, I’ve never seen any evidence that Jonny had anything to apologize for. Plus, I’ve heard Jonny say that he made a mistake, for instance when he has described Steve telling him to back to the drawing board on the iMac G4.

I realize you didn’t actually say that, but I think it’s an apple and oranges comparison.

Bryan Chaffin

aarman said:

I think he tried to out-Steve Steve, not realizing that at Apple only Steve could ever have been Steve.

Well said.

Bryan Chaffin

Brad, allow me to rephrase: Do you have anything specific to make you believe that Tim isn’t the boss of Jon (to use the kid way of saying it)?

skipaq

There is nothing shocking in this news. Neither does it say that Cook is losing control. This move is one that could only be done by someone with the boards backing. It remains to be seen how well ive’s talents translate from the physical design wins to the digital realm.

mblaydoe

What happened to the ability to block certain individuals? I miss not missing Bosco.

geoduck

What happened to the ability to block certain individuals? I miss not missing Bosco.

+1

Lee Dronick

I am wondering if he is just the one they chose to sacrifice, that some of the others are just am implicit. I am only speculating here, I may need a second cup of coffee today.

As to the Map app, I use it and overall like it. However, I hope that they soon clean up the idiosyncrasies and bugs, as well as add some needed features. Give me a distance scale.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Bryan, I do have three items of proof to support my theory that Jony Ive is a natural born CEO killer and is simply working his way through Cookie’s pawns to his position of destiny.

1. The Apple exec photo lineup. He is the only serious man on that page.

2. His pronunciation of aluminium (5 syllables) in the clip for the iPad Mini rollout.

3. That the production of that clip had to be scheduled around Ive’s scraggly beard growth.

Cookie fears Ive because Ive is a man of real substance, and Ive is the only essential person on the executive tea, Mansfield comes close. Cookie also fears Ive because Ive tackles through the man and plays until a second after the whistle. You may recall a [url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1367481/Apples-Jonathan-Ive-How-did-British-polytechnic-graduate-design-genius.html]glowing feature on Ive from one of the British mags when CEO succession was in play. That piece emphasized the importance of his wife and kids to him, in a subtle (well, not really if you understand British mannerisms) dig at Cook’s then-rumored sexual orientation. Clearly out of bounds and of very poor taste, but the ruthlessness of it is notable.

Nicolas diPierro

I credit Bertrand Serlet for Snow Leopard, probably Apple’s best version of Mac OS X. Forestall was distracted with iOS during the mess (my speculation) that was Lion and to some degree, Mountain Lion.

I say good riddance. Re-hire Serlet and put him in charge of Mac OS 10.9. I imagine Forestall sees this expulsion as fitting perfectly into his delusional narrative that he is just like Steve Jobs.

Watch to see which of Apple’s competitors races to hire this boat anchor.

Terrin

I will add to Bosco’s list.

Jobs once said in an interview that he set Apple up in a way that the everybody at Apple was answerable to somebody except Ive who wasn’t answerable to anybody. This was before Ive even had a vice president title.

I for one thought the apology was lame. The supposed out rage was overblown and inspired by the media wanting hits. If anything the only mistake Apple made was to not call the product a beta. Google called maps a beta for years.

Jobs would not have apologized either. He would have wrote a letter 1) explaining how many people were using the Maps App and giving it praise, 2) tell people why Apple changed the App (it wanted to bring users features like turn by turn and vector graphics that Google wouldn’t allow Apple do); 3) acknowledge some people are having problems with the app, and 4) assure people Apple will be rapidly addressing problems to make the App better. Jobs might have also released the App as a beta.

Under Jobs whenever something went wrong at Apple, he took the heat. If an apology was needed you could bet he wasn’t going to ask Mansfield (I forgot what they asked him to apologize for) or Forstall to do it.  Cook is making the big bucks to take the heat.

aardman

What is this haughty, prideful attitude about Apple demeaning itself when it apologizes?  Since when has a corporation been invested with an ego?  A little bit too much anthropomorphizing of corporations?  This is just some more of the corporations-are-people nonsense that the SCOTUS has foisted on us.

Why so much concern About Apple’s ‘dignity’?  Is there anyone out there who will change his mind about buying an iPhone because Apple showed (supposedly) no pride and apologized for a faulty product feature?

It’s a corporation.  It has no psyche, no consciousness, no subconscious, no feelings, no emotions, no soul, no nothing.  Some people are investing too much of their self worth on a corporation that they don’t even work for or own.

RonMacGuy

Funny stuff, coming from the moron who predicted Ive would leave Apple in 2011.

Whoops!!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)
RonMacGuy

Aww, I missed you too Bosco.  Just like the good old days.  LMAO.

My somewhat vague point is, not everyone wants to be CEO.  I don’t know if Ive wants to be or not.  What is his motivation?  Money?  Ha - he’s got plenty.  Power?  He obviously has that too - perhaps more than the CEO does.  Has he developed his replacement in his current job?  Can his genius even be replaced if he becomes CEO?  Maybe he’s developing one of his kids to take over for him when they are old enough, and then he takes over as CEO.

If he is given ‘decider’ power and no one stands in his way on key HW/SW decisions for future Apple products, then he may be perfectly content with Cook handling the daily CEO BS and continue to do what he loves.  Only Jony knows what he really wants.  Stop pretending that you have a clue.  ‘Jony’s gone by November.’  ‘Jony is a CEO killer.’  Really?  You have no clue!!  You really don’t.

You obviously don’t understand Corporate American politics as well as you think you understand patent law.  The only somewhat-valuable thing that you reference in your troll rant is if Ive has respect for Cook.  We can only guess, but there may be signs one way or another.  But again, if Jony is able to practically make the final HW (and now SW) decisions and no one really stands in his way, he is basically the new Steve Jobs without having to deal with all of the CEO BS.  So, other than perhaps a bit more salary and stock options, he may have everything he could ever want!!  There are many cases where an exec may have little to no respect for their CEO, but so long as the CEO doesn’t get in their way and they are happy with their level of money/power/prestige/responsibility, then they continue status quo.

RonMacGuy

Bryan, Bosco called me an A-hole.  That is MUCH meaner than me calling him a moron!!  And he was so proud that he didn’t stoop to personal attacks on me anymore…

grin

I did miss TMO during my hiatus.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

A long-time friend asked me to be polite to you. That’s not pride. It’s simply keeping my word. A—hole.

Bryan Chaffin

Cut it out.

RonMacGuy

Consider it cut out, Bryan.

My prediction is that Ive will remain in his current position for the foreseeable future (3-5 years).  I don’t believe he is out to ‘kill CEOs’.  He wants to remain hands on with Apple’s HW development (loves it), and the addition of OS/app interface responsibility will continue to challenge him in a good way.

Not all corporate techies can (or should) step in to become CEO.  A lot can’t handle it (not that Jony couldn’t), and a lot become very unhappy when they do (as I suspect Jony would, and he knows it).

If Jony does step out of his current role in the next 1-2 years, unless someone very qualified steps in, I fear the worst for Apple.  Cook knows this, and will do his best to make/keep Jony happy and challenged.

RonMacGuy

I’m sorry Bosco.  I really didn’t think I could get under your skin like that anymore.  Please accept my apology.

I hope you are well.  How are your dogs?

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