Scott Forstall: Why Is Apple Keeping Him As An Advisor?

Scott Forstall: Why Is Apple Keeping Him As An Advisor?

Even though it’s obvious that Scott Forstall was canned by Tim Cook, he’s being kept on for a year as an advisor to the CEO.

This seems to make no sense, but here’s why:

It’s all about preventing Forstall from jumping ship. Noncompete agreements are not enforceable in California. They are in other states and jurisdictions, but not in Apple’s home state.

Obviously, an executive of Forstall’s stature would be snapped up in a second by a rivals like Google or Microsoft.

Details of Forstall’s departure deal with Apple won’t be made known until Apple files papers with the SEC, but his new role as an advisor to Tim Cook is a bullshit job to keep him out of the job market.

Apple did exactly the same thing with Tony Fadell, the former head of the iPod division. When Fadell left the company in 2006, Apple made him an advisor to Steve Jobs for a year. He was given a big salary and stock grant to keep him happy. Several years later, he emerged as the founder of Nest, a company that makes smart thermostats, and is completely unrelated to smartphones or media players.

Even though Forstall will be held as an advisor, Apple can’t handcuff him forever. Forstall is too talented to not become a major player in the tech industry after a break from Apple.

  • Appledystopia

    Wow. I didn’t know he was “fired” but that’s a typical way for it to go. Most of the press claim he’s leaving, and fanboys have turned this into an indictment of Apple and some notion that he will work for Google or Samsung. Wait, so these fanboys hate Apple products, but want their head of iOS to work for Google or Samsung, in their fantasy corporation? Huh? I can’t stand fanboys — be they of the Apple, Google, or Microsoft kind.

    The higher up you are, the more “firing” is often transformed into a sinecure. I do know that Forstall has a reputation for being difficult and arrogant. Ive and Mansfield requested to have Tim Cook present whenever they met with him. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing for Apple. iOS is great, but it could be better. There are some glaring flaws, particularly with the bundled apps. I’m not talking all the hype about Maps. For all the kerfuffle, it is actually a decent app. I was listening to music last night — iPad to Apple TV. It crashed twice in two hours, even though I had rebooted both my Apple TV and iPad. Beyond this annoyance, some of the bundled iOS apps are bad. Music, for example, has some bugs with making playlists, tracks shown “greyed out”, as if they were added to a playlist, when they’re not, missing album artwork (from albums I bought on iTunes)… Reminders was horrible, but they fixed it in iOS 6. It took them a year to add the ability to move items on a list?!? That seems like something that should be there from day 1.

    iOS isn’t that great. To be fair, it is a relatively new OS and runs on minimal hardware. That said, I never felt it was completely up to Apple quality. It’s not like Mac OS X, which is near-flawless. But if it wasn’t for my frustration with iOS, I would have never started my website, which is getting hits galore.

    Well, it was good to know Forstall was fired. The Silicon Valley tolerates prima donnas to some extent, but when they make people’s lives miserable, they have to go. I don’t know what exactly precipitated this, but you can even see when Forstall presents at a keynote, he seems pretty arrogant. I have read quite a lot about how difficult he can be. No doubt, he’s intelligent. There are plenty of people who are intelligent and team players. From what I understand, he fancied himself as Steve Jobs Jr. Better for him to get the ax (really it’s the nerf ax for senior officers) than for him to rise to power as CEO or something.

  • dcdevito

    He’s a scapegoat for sure. He’s blamed for a lackluster operating system. Android was already ahead of it and today it buried iOS once and for all. There will be more people cut loose for sure, this is just the first. Wait and see. I predicted Forstall’s departure 6 months ago and got banned from this site.

  • MobiusStripper

    I honestly have no idea, he’s not moved iOS on by that far since it’s inception and map’s was a cluster f&*%k, still trying to figure out what the hell he was worth apart from going on stage and showing us a bit of the same, iOS/Mountain lion deserve more integration but with his standards god help us

  • extra_medium

    I can’t wait until my nexus gets a felt game table and a paper shredder.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    He’s a scapegoat for sure. He’s blamed for a lackluster operating system. Android was already ahead of it and today it buried iOS once and for all. There will be more people cut loose for sure, this is just the first. Wait and see. I predicted Forstall’s departure 6 months ago and got banned from this site.

    I think you got banned because you say a lot of stupid things. iOS is supposed to be simple. That’s the point. You call it lackluster because you think everybody is on your level when it comes to technology. What makes Apple what it is is the fact that they have the ability to understand the user. Apple is the best tech company in the world for this.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    Wow. I didn’t know he was “fired” but that’s a typical way for it to go. Most of the press claim he’s leaving, and fanboys have turned this into an indictment of Apple and some notion that he will work for Google or Samsung. Wait, so these fanboys hate Apple products, but want their head of iOS to work for Google or Samsung, in their fantasy corporation? Huh? I can’t stand fanboys — be they of the Apple, Google, or Microsoft kind.

    The higher up you are, the more “firing” is often transformed into a sinecure. I do know that Forstall has a reputation for being difficult and arrogant. Ive and Mansfield requested to have Tim Cook present whenever they met with him. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing for Apple. iOS is great, but it could be better. There are some glaring flaws, particularly with the bundled apps. I’m not talking all the hype about Maps. For all the kerfuffle, it is actually a decent app. I was listening to music last night — iPad to Apple TV. It crashed twice in two hours, even though I had rebooted both my Apple TV and iPad. Beyond this annoyance, some of the bundled iOS apps are bad. Music, for example, has some bugs with making playlists, tracks shown “greyed out”, as if they were added to a playlist, when they’re not, missing album artwork (from albums I bought on iTunes)… Reminders was horrible, but they fixed it in iOS 6. It took them a year to add the ability to move items on a list?!? That seems like something that should be there from day 1.

    iOS isn’t that great. To be fair, it is a relatively new OS and runs on minimal hardware. That said, I never felt it was completely up to Apple quality. It’s not like Mac OS X, which is near-flawless. But if it wasn’t for my frustration with iOS, I would have never started my website, which is getting hits galore.

    Well, it was good to know Forstall was fired. The Silicon Valley tolerates prima donnas to some extent, but when they make people’s lives miserable, they have to go. I don’t know what exactly precipitated this, but you can even see when Forstall presents at a keynote, he seems pretty arrogant. I have read quite a lot about how difficult he can be. No doubt, he’s intelligent. There are plenty of people who are intelligent and team players. From what I understand, he fancied himself as Steve Jobs Jr. Better for him to get the ax (really it’s the nerf ax for senior officers) than for him to rise to power as CEO or something.

    You know he’s going to end up being the CEO of some other company some day. Hell, HP might buy him up and resurrect Web OS. Scott was a key player in iOS. Saying that iOS isn’t that great is kind of stupid to say. iOS is the reason why Apple is a house hold name outside of iPod. Do you not realize that Scott was responsible for changing the computer landscape forever?

    Steve personally put Scott in charge. Did he seem a little arrogant? You know who else was arrogant? Mr. Jobs himself. The only difference is that Scott was personally responsible for Apple’s return. Steve was great at making sure the teams stayed on task.

    Mac OS X is not near flawless. How many people have trouble just downloading OS X? Mountain Lion, like Lion, is rough around the edges. Sometimes applications quit unexpectedly Safari always crashes, and there’s still a lot of fat in OS X like the widgets page. That’s the most useless portion of OS X. On top of all that, as of late, OS X has just been acquiring iOS’ biggest features.

    Near flawless my ass…

  • zviivz

    It’s about time. Can’t wait for iOS 7.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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