Talking tech since 2003

It appears the Apple Maps fiasco has claimed more than just a few well-known landmarks as victims; according to The New York Times, Senior Vice President of iOS Scott Forstall is exiting Apple next year, and will remain with the company as an adviser until that point.

The NYT attributes Forstall’s exit to politics; namely, the fact that Forstall was close with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, but otherwise did not have a great deal of support inside the company. In fact, the rift between Forstall and famed Apple designer Jony Ive had grown so large that Ive refused to sit in the same meeting room with Forstall unless current CEO Tim Cook was there to mediate.

The final nail in the coffin for Forstall, though, seems to have been Apple’s Maps product.

Maps, which has endured its fair share of (deserved) criticism from the tech press, was supposed to be Apple’s big entry into the maps space. The company replaced Google Maps, a favorite of many, with its own solution that features turn-by-turn voice navigation from Siri. However, Maps failed to impress at launch. Its database of venues was, and still is, quite sparse compared to the more-refined Google Maps product, and it can give bad directions from time to time. Forstall hyped his Maps product extensively at its introduction and later at its launch, and reportedly refused to sign the apology letter Apple CEO Tim Cook released following the poor reception for Maps. The move to let Forstall walk seems to indicate that Tim Cook cares more about product and less about politics.

With Forstall’s exit, the much-loved Jony Ive will take charge of user interface design across all of Apple, including iOS and Mac OS X. Other moves are also coming as part of this shake-up; Apple Internet Services chief Eddy Cue will step in to lead Apple Maps and Siri, and Bob Mansfield will lead a new group inside Apple called “Technologies.” John Browett, who has led Apple’s retail unit since April, will leave the company with Forstall.

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