Apple’s major announcement late Monday that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett were leaving the company has already led to early reports and speculation on what prompted the departures. A report from Fortune suggests that Forstall’s fate was sealed by his refusal to sign Apple’s apology letter for the launch of Maps, an iOS 6 feature that was met with worldwide ridicule after its launch. Ultimately, the letter to customers was only signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
It’s also said that Forstall didn’t get along with Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, as well as other Apple employees. The New York Times reports that Forstall and Ive wouldn’t sit in the same meeting room together, and that Forstall would insert himself into product development beyond his role at Apple. Ive is now listed as chief of human interface at Apple — initial speculation suggests that Apple will move away from skeuomorphic design, which Forstall supported.
As Forstall transitions out of the company, he will remain an advisor to Cook until “next year.” As the Times noted, the mood at Apple was apparently positive regarding Forstall’s departure. GigaOM reports that “Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of quiet jubilation, especially among people who worked in the engineering groups.” It’s also noted that Forstall’s exit was “fairly last minute and not something he initiated.” Browett’s exit from Apple was not nearly as unexpected, given well-publicized issues with his leadership of the retail division, and the company searches for a new head of retail to take his place.