Call It What It Is At Apple: A Tim Cook Power Play

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The second the news came out I took to Twitter and expressed a lack of shock over Scott Forstall's departure from Apple (AAPL).

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.

Here again, Cook deserves some blame. He's the CEO of Apple. Things such as Maps and major retail-related decisions should not get past him.

But they did. He realized he erred. He not only acted, but he covered his own rear end in the process.

Now, retail reports to Cook. I'm not sure Apple needs to or will hire a replacement.

These moves decrease the number of cooks in the kitchen. (Ha, ha). They shorten the circle of high-level influence at Apple, making it much easier for Cook to keep tabs on all of its moving parts.

I don't expect the things that ultimately cost Forstall and Browett their jobs to happen again anytime soon.

While all of this doesn't ensure that Cook can come up with "the next big thing" Apple needs to carry on the Jobsian magic, it makes me feel a lot better about the guy's ability to manage in a way and maintain the sort of culture, as ruthless as it can be, that helped make Apple great.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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