The abrupt and forced departure from Apple of the company’s Senior Vice President Scott Forstall in late October was “deserved and justified,” according to Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive and “godfather” of the iPod. Mr. Fadell’s comments were made during a BBC interview Wednesday.
After discussing his experience at Apple from 2001 until his departure in 2010, including the tenuous and uncertain years before the iPod revitalized the company, Mr. Fadell was asked about Mr. Forstall and any “personality problems” that may have existed that contributed to the latter’s departure. “I think what happened just a few weeks back was deserved and justified, and it happened,” Mr. Fadell succinctly answered.
Pressed further on the topic, including a query about specific personal issues between the two men, Mr. Fadell reiterated, “again, I think what he deserved, he got.”
Wednesday’s interview was not the first indication of the existence of personal issues between the two former Apple executives. A 2011 Businessweek profile of Mr. Forstall in the wake of Steve Jobs’s death touched on his contentious personality and conflicts with Mr. Fadell during his tenure.
The primary conflict arose in 2005, as the two men fought for different approaches to the company’s then-secret iPhone project, with Mr. Fadell arguing that the iPod operating system should be “enlarged” to accommodate the new phone’s requirements and Mr. Forstall pushing for a strategy to “shrink” the Mac OS X operating system. Mr. Forstall’s approach was chosen by Mr. Jobs, paving the way for the young Apple executive to direct the development of what would eventually become iOS.
After leaving Apple in 2010, Mr. Fadell founded Nest and produced an internet-connected “learning thermostat” that promised to lower energy usage. Mr. Forstall, although now stripped of his former duties, remains at Apple temporarily during the transition period and will leave in early 2013.