Announced the same day as the Google Event, Apple is going to be losing two top level executives early next year. Senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall and Senior VP of retail John Browett will be leaving the company, effective Spring of 2013. The reasons behind the shake-up are fodder for the rumor mill (as usual), running the gamut from Mr. Forstall being “forced out” due to conflicts with other Apple divisions as well as potentially the well known snafu over the iOS 6 Maps app.
In an e-mail from Apple CEO Tim Cook, the real reason was to “encourage even more collaboration between our world class hardware, software, and services teams at all levels of our company.” Whatever that really means. Typically, when a big wig doesn’t play nice with everybody, he/she better be bringing something major to the table for what they are taking off of it. And in this case, if Forstall was really responsible for the junk that was/is Apple’s Maps, he wasn’t long for this world. Most of the other reports out at the time when John Browett was hired at Apple were met less than stellar enthusiasm.
While I don’t think I’ve made it any secret how I feel about Apple and their idea of what “innovation” is, this is obviously a pretty big deal. When Steve Jobs passed away, there were many (myself included) who felt like the great driving creative force behind Apple’s success was gone. What we learned on Monday was that Jobs’s successor, Tim Cook, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and pull the trigger if he feels people aren’t getting the job done. Whether this will bode well or ill for Apple’s long term success remains to be seen.
In potentially related news, Strategy Analytics reports that Apple’s loyalty rating is down this year compared to last year in both Europe and the U.S. Western European iPhone users report only a 75% loyalty rating, down from 88% from last year. U.S. iPhone users were only slightly less loyal (fanatical?), dropping to 88% from 93%. While these numbers do not likely have the slightest thing to do with the executives moving on at Apple, it could be a precursor of things to come if Apple continues to rest on their laurels from past successes.