Why Scott Forstall And John Browett Got Fired From Apple Today


Scott Forstall. Photo: Apple
Scott Forstall. Photo: Apple

The announcement that both Scott Forstall and John Browett are leaving Apple today came as a big surprise to many Apple fans. Browett has only been with Apple for nine months, but Scott Forstall was one of Steve Jobs’ favorite employees and has been with Apple since 1997.

Apple hasn’t released any of the specifics as to why Browett and Forestall are leaving Apple, but we’re assuming they got fired for their missteps from the past 12 months.

Here’s why both of them may have been axed:

Reason for firing Scott Forstall

  • Siri. When Forstall pitched Siri during the iPhone 4S keynote, the personal assistant looked amazing. It seemed to understand everything Scott asked it and came back with quick replies. The actual product has been quite different though, and some have accused Forstall of over promising and under-delivering on Siri. It was supposed to be a huge selling feature of the iPhone 4S, but now it’s become more of an after-thought and joke.
  • Apple Maps. By now, everyone is well aware of the horrible reputation Apple Maps has earned. The sad part is, a lot of Apple Maps’ problems were fixable by the iOS development team before the launch. Forstall’s team rushed Maps out before doing a lot of quality assurance and checking their data for discrepancies in public record. The damage done to Apple’s reputation via the Maps mishap has been reason enough to get anyone fired, even Apple’s iOS wonderboy.
  • iOS development. While Microsoft has come out with an innovative new mobile operating system and Android has added loads of new features, iOS 5 and iOS 6 haven’t been as captivating. Yes, iOS is still an incredible product, but the skeuomorphic leather and wood grain interfaces that Forestall’s teams have added over the last two years have made iOS feel dated. Apple needs to start making some daring steps with iOS to maintain their lead in the mobile space, and Forstall has not appeared to be willing to do so.
  • Ego. Steve Jobs was a brilliant visionary, known for demanding to have things done his way. Forstall has received unflattering comparisons to Jobs. There have been whispers that Apple’s senior vice presidents avoid having meetings with Forstall unless Tim Cook is present because he has become increasingly difficult to work with. Maybe sometime away from Apple will help Forstall’s leadership abilities mature, just like it helped Steve Jobs.

Reasons For Firing Browett

  • Chemistry. Ever since Browett took over retail operations from Ron Johnson he’s been trying to make his mark within the company.  He hasn’t fit in with the Apple ethos and has caused a stir during his first year. It seems pretty harsh to fire someone because they don’t fit in right away, but Apple can’t afford to lose any ground on their retail operations.
  • He’s focused on revenues, not customers. Before coming to Apple, Browett was the CEO at the electronic retailer Dixons. His rep at Dixons was that he cared more about making money than helping customers. People were shocked that Apple hired Browett despite his reputation and it appears that those fears weren’t without warrant. Throughout 2012 Browett has come up with new Apple Store policies that have detracted from the customer experience. He’s tried to lower the number of Apple Store employees so stores become even more profitable, and has failed to see that people go to the Apple Store for the excellent customer service.