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Major Shake-up at Apple: iOS Chief Scott Forstall and Retail Chief John Browett both out, Leadership changes on the way

By all measures, it’s already been a very big 2012 at Apple. Tim Cook’s first year at the helm saw an onslaught of new products hit the market, and by all outward appearances things at headquarters were going swimmingly… But we must be seeing only half of the picture. In an unexpected press release, Apple just announced that both Scott Forstall and John Browett are leaving the company.

The Browett part of this news is less surprising, comparatively. He served as head of retail for less than a year, and during that time he deftly proved that he was no Ron Johnson. Some of the complaints surrounding Browett included his decision to freeze all hiring earlier this year, as well as his tendency to scale back expenses by deferring store repairs and laying off Apple Store employees. The fact that Browett prioritized anything over the customer service experience always seemed to indicate that he wasn’t a perfect fit at Apple, and only now are we seeing that mismatch get fully played out.

… And then there’s Scott Forestall—the face that has for so long been matched with Apple’s iOS. No more, though, as the man with such close ties to Steve Jobs is on his way out. Tough to guess the reason behind Forestall’s unexpected departure. Some say he was notoriously hard to get along with for other Apple executives, and once you start digging there are a number of stories that portray him as demanding and uncooperative. Case in point: His alleged refusal to sign the apology that went out about the poor Maps performance in iOS 6. If that’s true, which it seems to be, you can imagine the position Tim Cook faced when considering a future with Scott Forestall continuing to lead the iOS charge.

The main players who will fill in these leadership holes are Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield, whose responsibilities at the company will apparently undergo some rapid evolution. And just like that, Apple is a fairly different company, both forward-facing and on the inside… What will this mean for their stock price and retail experience? Is your fanboy confidence shaken?

 

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