Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Apple pushes out software, retail chiefs in overhaul

Reuters, SAN FRANCISCO

Apple Inc chief executive Tim Cook on Monday pushed out the powerful head of the company’s mobile software products group, sources said, in a major management shake-up that also claimed the recently hired chief of the retail stores division.

Scott Forstall, a long-time lieutenant of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was asked to leave following years of friction with other top executives and his recent refusal to take responsibility for the mishandling of Apple’s much-criticized mapping software, people familiar with the situation said.

Sources said Forstall refused to sign a public apology after Apple’s mapping product, which displaced the popular Google Maps on the iPhone and the iPad last month, contained embarrassing errors and drew fierce criticism.

Instead, Cook signed the letter last month.

Forstall will leave the company next year, Apple said in a statement. He did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

The executive changes are the biggest at Apple in more than a decade, and mark the first major move by Cook to shape his own management team since Jobs’ death a year ago.

John Browett, who was hired as the company’s retail chief just seven months ago, after serving as CEO of UK electronics retailer Dixon’s, will also leave Apple.

His efforts to improve profits at the stores had alienated employees and sources close to Apple said Cook had concluded he was simply the wrong person for the job.

While Apple has enjoyed enormous success since Cook took the helm, recent stumbles, including the Maps debacle and several earnings disappointments, have underscored the long-term challenges the company faces in retaining its dominance in the smartphone and tablet markets.

In Google, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft and Samsung Electronics, Apple faces an array of powerful competitors who are determined to own a piece of the exploding mobile-computing market.

The executive changes hand substantially more responsibility to Jonathan Ive, Apple’s celebrated industrial design chief, who will now oversee both hardware and software design.

Eddy Cue, a long-serving executive who runs online products, will take charge of Apple Maps and the Siri voice search software. Craig Federighi, who oversees the OSX software that powers the Macintosh computers, will take charge of the iOS software.

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