Apple software, retail chiefs out in sweeping overhaul

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:36pm EDT

1 of 2. Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software at Apple Inc, speaks about iPhone5 apps during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook on Monday replaced the heads of its software and retail units in the company's most sweeping executive shake-up in a decade following embarrassing problems with its new mapping program and unpopular store-related decisions.

Software chief Scott Forstall, who oversaw the launch of the flawed mapping software and much criticized Siri voice-enabled assistant, will leave Apple next year and serve as an advisor to Cook in the meantime.

Forstall, seen as a polarizing figure inside Apple, had been billed as one of the future candidates to take the top job at Apple. He was the executive behind the panned Apple Maps app that the company announced with much fanfare in summer.

The moves, which come a little more than a year into Cook's tenure as CEO, were described by Apple as a way to increase "collaboration" across its hardware, software and services business.

"These changes show that Tim Cook is stamping his authority on the business," Ben Wood, analyst with CCS Insight, said. "Perhaps disappointed with the Maps issues, Forstall became the scapegoat."

Critics of the maps debacle, which led Cook to apologize to customers, had been calling for Forstall's head. "Does Apple have a Scott Forstall problem?" Fortune editor Philip Elmer Dewitt wrote on Sept 29.

The moves hand over substantially more responsibility to Cue, the head of Internet Software and Services who helped create the iTunes music store and App Store. The 23-year Apple veteran already is in charge of Cloud services and will take on Apple Maps and Siri.

Apple said a search is underway for a new retail chief to replace John Browett and that the retail team would report directly to Cook. Browett had riled up the retail store staff when he decided to reduce the number of retail employees.

Browett took over as head of Apple's retail stores earlier this year, replacing Ron Johnson, who went on to become the CEO of JC Penney.

Last week Apple delivered a second straight quarter of disappointing financial results, and iPad sales fell short of Wall Street's targets, marring its record of consistently blowing past investors' expectations.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Comments (5)
jscott418 wrote:
Price you pay for screwing up Maps. Some house cleaning going on at Apple. Personally I think Apple is pretty worried about its position in smart phones and tablets. Competition is certainly creating viable and more affordable options in smart phones and tablets. Just as they have always done with Mac vs PC’s. The question is can Apple maintain its margins of profits against a increasing array of products from other makers?

Oct 29, 2012 6:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Butch_from_PA wrote:
First time Steve Jobs was not at the helm, Apple fell apart. Methinks this apple is ripe for another fall.

Oct 29, 2012 6:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
VonHell wrote:
Remember apple before the 1st ipod?… some mac abajours that few people used to buy… and after pay a fortune for one the only way was to say “im happy”…

Apple was luck with ipod that became popular and even made people use itunes… a complete rebirth of the brand… and very luck with touch screen, great revolution on smartphones… i had one ipod touch until 1 year ago…
But now they have competitors and iphone 5 … well…it looks like an expensive just almost nothing better than iphone 4S…

Remember how was to own a startak or a blackberry years ago?
For almost 2 years i have 9MP camera, GPS, 3Dscreen, DigitalTV,felica chip etc, etc on my “old” phone… if i saw no reason to downgrade to a 4S… now i just consider “upgrade” something like a 5″ from samsung… if they upgrade my android to 4.1 i would simply stay happy with my old phone…

Drop Maps is only part of the software “problem”… they droped adobe flash some time ago and people had to content… some time ago i read they plan to drop java…
They bet a lot on their brand… but remember startak and blackberry?
Only thing for sure… i dont miss itunes…

Oct 29, 2012 7:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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