For as concerned as I am about Tim Cook's ability to lead Apple in a post-Steve Jobs world (or a post-iPod, -iPhone and -iPad world), I'm equally as excited by this we can't call it predictable, but hardly surprising move.
Let's not mince words.
Cook pulled a power play.Earlier this year, Fortune referred to Forstall as Apple's 'CEO-in-Waiting.' That doesn't bode well for inter-office dynamics, particularly if Forstall believes his own press clippings (according to more than a few accounts, he does). And, for as secure as he probably is as CEO, Forstall's "title" likely didn't sit well with Cook. But you can't always tell the Board of Directors you want to blow somebody out because you think he has arrogant and smug eyes for your gig. Cook needed something on Forstall. With the Apple Maps debacle, he got it. It's one thing to decide to abandon a popular Google (GOOG) platform. It's entirely another to not be ready with something as good, and preferably better, to replace it. Just as Jobs would have, Cook deserves part of the blame for this. And he took it. But, in classic Jobs' style Cook made Forstall the fall guy. If that's what went down, sure, it's a brutal, but Forstall will be just fine. Such is life in Silicon Valley. In another move that ups my level of respect for Cook, Apple canned the man who replaced Ron Johnson as retail head, John Browett. Browett made a bonehead move -- or at least it ended up on him -- earlier in the year. Relative to other things Apple, it went somewhat under the radar, but it's another thing that never would have flown on Jobs's watch. Browett likely should not have been given Johnson's job, but he certainly lost it when he backtracked on a reorganization of Apple's retail staff. While the cutback in staffing and hours probably should have never happened in the first place, it did. Then, within days, Browett publicly admitted he made a "mistake." I'm surprised it took Cook this long to show him the door.