Under the guise of "increasing collaboration across hardware, software, and services," Apple on Monday announced a massive management shakeup, punctuated by the departure of controversial figures Scott Forstall, senior VP of iPhone Software and previous heir apparent to the Apple throne. Also out is John Browett, who served a disappointing nine months as Apple's senior vice president of retail.
The announcement comes on the tail of a particularly rough month for Apple, during which the company saw its stock prices tumble 11 percent. Whether the changes will mollify enraged Apple investors remains to be seen. The New York Stock Exchange was closed Monday and will remain so at least through Tuesday, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy.
Forstall holds the distinction of being the youngest vice president in Apple's history and has been favorably (and unfavorably) compared to the late Steve Jobs as a polarizing genius. Despite those mostly positive credentials -- which pointed to a long-term tenure at Apple and potential ascent to the CEO suite -- the news of Forstall's departure likely won't come as a shock when viewed in hindsight: He's taken flak for Apple's overselling and underdelivering of both Siri -- which proved far less capable than Apple let on -- and Apple Maps, which bombed so badly that CEO Tim Cook had to issue a public apology and point iOS users to such alternatives as MapQuest and Microsoft Bing.
On top of that, Forstall has garnered a reputation for not playing well with others. In an in-depth profile, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported last year that Forstall's relationship with other executive was so tense that some would avoid meetings unless Cook was attending. "That sentiment, it seems, has not been limited to fellow executives," according to the article. "One former member of the iOS team, a senior engineer, describes leaving Apple after growing tired of working with Forstall and hearing his common refrain: 'Steve [Jobs] wouldn't like that.' Similarly frustrated engineers from Forstall's group have been hired by other Silicon Valley companies, according to one CEO."