Maccast Members #140 - Apple's Reorganization
V Opening
* At Apple's iPad mini event it was noticed by many that Scott Forestall wasn't on stage and many saw it as a sign he was in trouble
* I largely felt it was being overplayed by the media. Boy was I wrong. This week saw a big shake-up in Apple management and that sparked a lot of chatter I wanted to discuss.

V Overview of the change
* MacRumor's pointed out an interesting blog post by a former Apple employee Matt Drance
* Drance notes that prior to Cook's restructuring Apple's teams have been divided by products
V Now what you have is Divisions each headed by strong long time Apple executives
* Craig Federighi, Software
* Jony Ive, Design
* Eddy Cue, Services
* Dan Riccio, Hardware (ok, new to the role, but backed up by Mansfield)
* Bob Mansfield, Technologies
V Apple Retail
* John Browett was let go after just 5 months as the head of Apple Retail
* He immediately started making cost saving cuts that were not received well by Apple staff nor the media
* His actions also forced a public Apple apology.
* I have also personally heard of tight changes at Apple retail stores that many feel, myself included, resulted in a reduced level of customer service
* The rumors are that Scott Forstall was close to and possibly protected a bit by Jobs
* Since Steve's passing Forestall has butted heads with Apple's executive team, most specifically Jony Ive
* Forstall reportedly refused to sign Tim Cook's apology letter for Apple Maps and that may have been the final straw
* It's also being reported that the schedule driven launch cycles may be something prompted by Forestall and may have resulted in the issues reported with the Maps app and Siri not be "ready for primetime"
V Reactions and commentary
V Bottom line changes at Apple retail
* Always seemed from the beginning that Browett might not be the right fit for Apple Retail
* Almost immediately we started seeing changes that felt more like they were about the bottom line then about creating a great retail experience
* He generated a lot of bad press for attempting to layoff employees and cut back working hours.
* He also seemed to be more interesting in getting store performance number up than create insanely great customer experiences.
* The reports that we are getting about Apple employees reaction to the announcement are that most are not sad to see Browett go.
* Apple is now actively searching for a replacement, but hasn't announced anything yet.
V Was Forestall a problem?
V Schedule driven software releases
* Is this inherently a bad idea?
* Some say Apple has a history of not shipping a product until is absolutely perfect and ready.
* Apple has always had a duplicity with this.
* "Real artists ship" - Steve Jobs
* They may have just pushed too far in the other direction
V Are Maps and Siri a problem?
* As you know I've been pretty vocal about saying no
* I'm still not convinced that waiting longer to release Siri and Maps would have been better
* Yes, there was some initial bad press, but that blew over quickly and for many, myself included, the products work pretty well
* That said, it's not Apple's style. They ship stuff that "just works" and my guess is there is a desire to return to that.
V The question remains is Craig Federighi going to be up to the task of getting stuff finished and out the door
* I think there is no doubt with Mountain Lion he has done a good job.
* He reportedly will is not as divisive a leader as Forstall, but it's not certain he is a tough at making the hard decisions as well
* The worry would be that stuff starts slipping too much, but it is Federighi who has planned to put OS X a yearly release cycle, so will just have to give hime time to see how well it t urns out.
* My gut feeling is that iOS will do just fine under his control.
* It should also be great having one guy in charge of both the desktop and mobile OS.
V Ive taking over software UI design along with hardware
* In charge of a new human interface group
V I think it will be interesting to see how fast the skeuomorphic elements will start disappearing from Apple's software interfaces
* Interestingly that style of UI design was loved by Jobs and pushed by Forstall
* As you may imagine Ive's isn't a fan
V Eddy Cue, the fixer
* Reportedly was instrumental in keeping the peace with record labels and keeping iTunes on track
* He came in and restructured the faltering Mobile Me group into iCloud
* Now he will be in charge of taking on Siri and Maps.
V Additional thoughts
V GigaOm pointed out an interesting area of the PR that many sites seem to have missed or glossed over
* Bob Mansfied has been put in charge of a new group, Technologies
* They are comprised of all of Apple's wireless teams and include the semiconductor teams
* The PR also says the team has, "ambitious plans for the future"
V There have been many rumors saying Apple is poised to start making their own chips for Macs. Certainly it seems like that is possibly what Mansfield will be overseeing.
* There has also been pie in the sky speculation that eventually Apple might want to also offer their own wireless data services
* A buyout of T-Mobile has been cited as one possible way Apple to get jumpstarted on that.
V Overall I think the changes are positive for Apple and seem to put them in a place where they have a leadership that will be able to offer more control and better integration across the product lines.
* Between different hardware, software, and services the top executives will be interfacing with teams in each area and will have a more holistic view of what's being developed at Apple.
* This is going to be important as we use more and more mobile and connected devices.