Apple (AAPL) Shakes Up Management

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has announced that two senior executives, Scott Forstall and John Browett, will be leaving the company. The stated reason for the shakeup was to “encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams.”

Mr. Forstall, who was close to the late Steve Jobs, was Senior Vice President – iPhone Software Engineering and Platform Experience and had been with Apple for some fifteen years. His duties are being re-assigned to other executives. Mr. Browett was Senior Vice President – Retail and had only been with the company for six months. A replacement is being sought for him and in the meantime the retail group will report to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Mr. Forstall is generally lauded for his role in developing Apple’s mobile operating system. But he is also seen as divisive and abrasive, which is undoubtedly why improving collaboration was featured in Apple’s announcement. He also presided over the recent iO6 maps fiasco.

Most commentary has been supportive of the decision to oust Mr. Forstall. Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems will now be under one person – Craig Federighi. And Jony Ive will oversee all product design – hardware and software – across the company. These moves should better integrate mobile and desktop, put one person in charge of Apple’s user interface and from all accounts significantly reduce corporate infighting.

Mr. Browett just seems to have been a bad fit. Coming from more down-market retail environments, he made headlines for trying reduce store staff – a move for which Apple publicly apologized.

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