Apple Axes Williamson, Maps Manager, Over Botched Software
One by one, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is purging its executive suite of senior management behind botched software. According to published reports, the latest Apple head to fall is Rich Williamson (pictured), senior director of iOS services, and the manager responsible for the iOS 6 Maps disaster, fired last week by Eddie Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. Williamson had been with Apple for 10 years.
Late last month, in a startling management shakeup, Apple fired iOS software development chief Scott Forstall, who had been Williamson’s boss, and John Browett, its retail senior vice president, giving more responsibility in the fallout to Cue, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield and Craig Federighi.
In much the same way as Forstall presided over the Siri and Apple Maps messes, the latter prompting chief executive Tim Cook’s formal apology, Williamson evidently took the hit for the extensive problems with the Maps app, including disasters such as missing locations and roadways, wrong information, incorrect directions and the like. Some flubs apparently have been fixed—the app previously told users a ferry trip was required to travel from San Francisco to Sausalito, Calif., when a freeway drive across the Golden Gate bridge will do just fine—and work is ongoing.
According to the report, the Williamson firing signals Cue’s intention to remake the management team for the entire iOS software development unit. So far, no replacement for Williamson has emerged and it’s not known when one will. While the mapping service miscues don’t seem to have dented iPhone 5 sales, Cue still is said to be soliciting advice from third-party mapping technology experts, as he tries to build some confidence for the app, according to reports.
The iOS 6 mapping service did away with the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) built-in maps app Apple had used since 2007 in favor of a homegrown Apple entry with some snazzy features such as turn-by-turn navigation, as the vendor sought to distance itself from its relationship with Google.
Random alert … in the oh-by-the-way information category, car maker Chevrolet said it plans to incorporate Siri into its Sonic and Spark model cars, making it the first U.S. automaker to integrate the technology into its systems. Next year’s Sonic and Spark models will feature a steering wheel button to activate Siri, according to one report. The service is called “Siri in Eyes Free” mode and will connect to Chevrolet’s MyLink system via Bluetooth.