Do recent changes in Apple’s management signal a bigger change within the company?

Mike wrote up a great report on the maps management shuffle. Richard Williamson is gone, following Eddy Cue’s takeover of all things ‘web services’.

Was it the team?

Okay, now that the team behind Maps is completely gone, do you expect everything will be dandy with the Apple web service? … … … I didn’t think so.

Scott Forstall is the guy that brought you iOS. So often it seems bloggers and tech commenters are forgetting that Forstall isn’t just some management guy that was getting in the way of change at Apple. He was one of the guys behind the biggest change in computing since the mouse: touch.

Forstall is a very capable and skilled manager that time and again has led an iOS team that created an operating system that was smoother, faster, simpler, and more attractive than any competitor. Web services were imperfect. It’s a pretty poorly backed conclusion to think that it was all Forstall’s fault.

So will a new team help?

No service is perfect, and we can all certainly hope for better. The failure of Maps was very likely deeper than a few individuals leading the initiative?. It is possible that it comes from a more wide-spread lack of ability to understand web services company wide.

Up until this point Apple hasn’t won our confidence with their web services. We can all certainly hope that they’ll do it better with a new team. But ‘team’ is not always a golden bullet.

If you had to pick a web service that doesn’t seem to ever be down, or go wrong it would be iTunes. Not the software (I know you don’t like the app), I’m referring to the service. It is so rare that a user attempts to purchase an app or song and is met with an error.

Company wide change

You can be sure that iCloud and Maps are far more complicated that iTunes. But we can all hope that Cue is the man to make them better.

It seems to me that a lot of burden has fallen on Cue. This major overhaul in the way the company is structured may be beneficial to the productivity and innovation of Apple. However, Maps and iCloud don’t have a productivity or innovation problem. Cue doesn’t just have to rewrite some code to make a couple services work with more stability; he may have to change the way his organization thinks about online services.

Williamson may be missed, but hopefully a bigger change is afoot.

Joshua Howland

Joshua is a mobile application developer, entrepreneur, and technology enthusiast. He is currently building a company that focuses on educational mobile applications: LearnStack. His favorite posts to write compare companies and products. He loves sports and start ups and talks about them (along with tech) on Twitter (@jkhowland) and his blog (jkhowland.me).

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