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.