Apple’s iOS VP Scott Forstall is leaving the company next year, no longer in charge of iOS

In an official press release Apple has announced that Scott Forstall who served as the Senior VP of iOS will be leaving the company next year and is no longer in charge of the iOS division. He will serve as an advisor to CEO during this one year period. Jony Ive will take the responsibility of iOS’s interface in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. John Browett is also leaving Apple, and the company will look for a new head of Retail in the interim – until then the Retail team will report directly to the CEO.

Apple’s top leadership is having a major shake up as Eddy Cue will now be responsible of Siri and Maps in addition to his previous responsibilities. This means all of Apple’s online services including the Maps and Siri will be managed under one group along with iBookstore, iCloud, and App Store. Craig Federighi will lead iOS as well as OS X teams, which indicates that we will see more iOS and OS X unification in the coming years. Bob Mansfield will be leading a new group called Technologies that will combine all of company’s wireless as well as semiconductor teams.

Here is the official Press Release Apple has published on its website regarding the recent change in the top leadership:

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

According to several unofficial sources the reason behind Scott Forstall’s departure is that he refused to sign a public apology letter for the poor launch of Apple’s Maps application. While Scott Forstall who was directly in charge of Apple Maps service refused to apologize publicly for the shortcomings of the service, company’s CEO Tim Cook issued a public letter in which he acknowledge the poor performance of the app and apologized while promising a fix soon.

So why did Apple decided to keep him as an advisor to CEO for a year (a job that has no significant purpose) and not fire him right away? Well the simple answer to this question is that Apple didn’t wanted Scott Forstall to work for any other company, at least for a year. The amount of talent and experience he has would ensure him a top position at any tech company that rivals Apple including Google and Microsoft who would love to have Scott Forstall aboard. This is a strategy Apple has used to keep Tony Fadell who was the head of iPod division in the company few years back out of the market, by keeping him as an advisor to Steve Jobs.

9to5Mac has published an internal letter Apple CEO sent out to his employees regarding this change. Here it is:

Team,

We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history. The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October – iPhone 5, iOS6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications – could only have been created at Apple, and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.

Today, I am announcing changes that will encourage even more collaboration between our world-class hardware, software and services teams at all levels of our company. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi will be taking on more responsibilities. I am also announcing that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to me during the interim. I want to thank Scott for all of his many contributions to Apple over his career.

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his longtime role as the leader of Industrial Design. Jony has an incredible design aesthetic and has been the driving force behind the look and feel of our products for more than a decade. The face of many of our products is our software and the extension of Jony’s skills into this area will widen the gap between Apple and our competition.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri and Maps. This places all of our online services in one group. Eddy and his organization have overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, the iBookstore and iCloud. They have an excellent track record of building and strengthening our online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X. We have the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems on the planet, and bringing together our OS teams will make it even easier to deliver our best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms. Craig recently led the very successful release of Mountain Lion.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of our wireless teams across the company in one organization, allowing us to innovate in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include all of our semiconductor teams, who have some very ambitious plans. As part of this, I am thrilled to tell you that Bob will remain with Apple for an additional two years. Bob has led some of our most challenging engineering projects for many years.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. Our search for a new head of Retail is already underway. In the meantime, the Retail team will report directly to me. Retail has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level, and they will continue the excellent work they’ve done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services and a focus on the customer that is second to none. This phenomenal team of talented and dedicated people works their hearts out making our customers happy. They have our respect, our admiration and our undying support.

Please join me in congratulating everyone on their new roles.

I’d like to thank everyone for working so hard so that Apple can continue to make the world’s best products and delight our customers. I continue to believe that Apple has the most talented and most innovative people on the planet, and I feel privileged and inspired to be able to work with all of you.

Best,

Tim

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