What’s Causing Apple Trouble in Paradise?

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) surprised everyone on Monday afternoon by announcing the departure of two key executives from the company through a news release, and it turns out there may be more to the shake-up story. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, mobile software chief Scott Forstall was asked to leave the company after he refused to sign his name to a letter apologizing for Apple’s new mapping app.

Forstall, a 15-year Apple veteran, had had increasing tensions with other members of the company’s executive team, according to the report, with the latest incident proving the final straw. Senior executives had been complaining that he showed off his closeness with the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs and refused to be cooperative, telling people there was no “decider” with Jobs gone. He was reportedly also upset that the iOS team wasn’t getting to work on enough big ideas in mobile software. However, the trouble peaked with the launch of Apple’s maps software, which Forstall’s team had worked on. The Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) replacement was almost universally criticized as soon as it was released to the public in September. While Cook and other executives felt a public apology was the right response, Forstall disagreed.

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The departure of retail chief John Browett, who was also asked to leave, was unrelated. Browett, who joined the company in April reportedly did not fit in at Apple at all and made several mistakes, including the implementation of a new staffing system that cut employee hours. The company said the search for a new retail head was already on. The team will report to Cook in the interim.

Craig Federighi, the Mac software engineering head, will take over at the iOS software unit, while Eddy Cue will oversee Siri and Maps. Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield will also receive expanded roles.

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