Talking tech since 2003

Apple looks to be taking the task of improving its Maps app seriously, firing yet another employee connected to the panned iOS 6 replacement for Google Maps. Richard Williamson, the Vice President of iOS Platform Services, was reportedly dismissed by Eddy Cue, Apple’s Vice President of Internet Software & Services. Cue stepped into his role after the departure of Scott Forstall back in October, and has been trying to right the ship with regards to the quality and dependability of Apple’s Maps product.

So far, this appears to be his first major move.

You’ll also remember that, back in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology for the poor quality of the app. Forstall refused to sign the apology, which reportedly led to his being shown the door. The termination of Williamson marks two firings from Apple in less than a month’s time. The Cook Era, while not devoid of errors, seems to be one that demands accountability. In a period where, in my opinion, Apple seems to have taken a step back in terms of innovation and punctuality (late iMacs, still no iTunes), the fact that Apple has no trouble jettisoning employees for bad work is a good thing.

It’s hard to imagine that Apple isn’t also feeling the pressure from Google, in this instance. Google is said to have been working on its own Maps app for the iOS App Store, an app that users have been clamoring for ever since Apple decided to replace Google’s product with its own. Apple could, of course, reject Google Maps, but that would raise a few eyebrows at the Department of Justice, which threatened action the last time Apple tried to keep Google apps out of its market. The fact that Apple has openly suggested other mapping applications in its App Store also doesn’t bode well for any type of rejection it might lay down at Google’s feet. So, with the prospect of having to complete on its own platform against a maps product that is, at this point, much better, Apple needs to pull out all the stops.

Letting go of two employees involved with the first Maps iteration is a good first step. Now’s the time for the company to really hunker down and get to work on bringing the product up to par with the other options that are out there.


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