The BBC and others have connected today's management shuffle with Apple's embarrassing problems with its new mapping software and disappointing quarterly results.
More specifically, Jessica E. Lessin of the Wall Street Journal reports tonight that executive Scott Forstall was asked to leave the company after he refused to sign his name to a letter apologizing for shortcomings in Apple's new mapping service, according to people familiar with the matter. The incident was the latest clash between Mr. Forstall, who oversaw Apple's mobile software unit, and other executives at the company.
On the surface, the sweeping changes listed in Apple's press release seem to come across as chaos in light of the announcement of Forstall's departure. More so because the announcement was released after the market closed. However, there was a clear sign as far back as May of this year that trouble was brewing.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed in May Forstall had sold off over 64,000 company shares, netting him more than $38.7 million. The sale wiped out 95 percent of his Apple stock, leaving him only 2,988 shares. A major sell-off of this magnitude is usually associated with an executive about to leave a company.
Back in January, CNET reported that Adam Lashinsky, author of "Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works," stated that Apple Senior Vice President for iOS Software Scott Forstall was already making it clear he wanted to be the company's next CEO. So there's certainly been signs behind the scenes that trouble was brewing and today's explosive announcement shows that Tim Cook may have used the mapping fiasco as an opportunity to dismiss Forstall.
The twist in this story of course is that Scott Forstall will be temporarily staying on as an advisor to Tim Cook. Considering that non-compete clauses aren't enforceable in California, Apple's workaround to this obstacle is to call Forstall an Advisor on paper so as to temporarily keep him out of the marketplace. We'll see how that works out going forward.
No matter how you look at it, Google, Samsung and others will undoubtedly endeavor to spin this news to their favor ahead of the holiday shopping season.
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