Wow, Tim Cook’s first Grade-A Huge Mistake.
I agree with Adam Lashinsky.
Look, it was Forstall who led the Death March to stuff OS X into the package that became iOS. He was in a race against Tony Fadell, who tried to convince Jobs that the OS running the iPod could scale up to run a cellphone.
Forstall won, Fadell lost.
Think about what it took to not only assemble that Ultra Top Secret team but also to get them to give up their home lives to Get It Done. You can’t get that out of people just loving their work. You have to do what Steve Jobs did with the original Macintosh team — practically create a cult.
How many people have the kind of personality that can accomplish that?
Not only do you have to knit together a group of different personalities, you have to have enough respect from them that they will let you be The Final Word on all disagreements. And yes, “let” is the right word — otherwise you wind up with a mutiny.
Imagine all the problems that had to be solved, all the people who were burning out, on top of all that secrecy — and it all really comes down to one person gaining enough respect from people to see it all through no matter what.
People who can do that are celebrated. They are the Bill Gates, the Larry Ellisons, the Mark Zuckerbergs — and yes, the Steve Jobs.
You don’t hear about all the sergeants who helped Patton — as capable as they might have been. You hear about Patton.
Now I’m sure Forstall doesn’t think about himself in these terms. That’d be fatal. Few people can get away with that. Remember, Jobs, Gates, Ellison, Zuckerberg and the like didn’t begin as employees, they began as top dogs.
However, within Apple, within that ultra-secret group that birthed iOS, Forstall was top dog. Outside of it, Steve Jobs was top dog. But how long would Jobs have kept him on it if he hadn’t thought Forstall was capable?
Whatever machinations led to Fortsall’s leaving, there’s no math in the world that can make any of this add up. It’s as jarring as Apple’s announcement that John Browett was going to lead the retail stores — and we see today how that played out!
Given the Genius TV ads that were widely loathed, the Siri celebrity TV ads that some people (me!) hated, the $329 price for the iPad Mini, the hiring of Browett and now the dismissal of Fortsall, I can’t help but wonder who over at Apple is so tone-deaf that these things could have happened to begin with.
Perhaps this is a sign that Tim Cook is really the new John Sculley after all.
If so, he won’t last.
Whatever he allowed to happen that led to the dismissal of Forstall will rise up to take him down too.
Forstall will be back.
While Steve Jobs went off and raised a new army called NeXT, my suggestion for Forstall will likely be loathed by everyone else and might not even be practical. But if it’s at all practical, it should be done.
Forstall should join GRAM and work with Open webOS.
Fortsall is a sharp guy. Take a weekend to really think about it, Fortsall, and you’ll see it’s the Right Thing to do.
When Apple brought back Jobs, it was to save a vulnerable OS.
This is going to repeat itself with iOS.
And Open webOS is your NeXT.