Like the lost continent of Atlantis, the head of mapping software for Apple, Rich Williamson, no longer appears on any internal maps at Apple following his firing earlier today. Williamson leaves Apple in the wake of the Apple Maps disaster that was roundly criticized as not only inferior to the Google Maps program recently removed from iOS software, but also in many cases inherently flawed to the point of near-uselessness.
Reports indicate that Williamson, who held the title of “VP, iOS Platform Service”, was fired by Eddy Cue, the senior VP of Internet software and services who was set to run Apple Maps following the departure of Scott Forstall. The firing of Williamson, not yet officially announced by Apple itself, is said to be part of a larger shake-up of Apple's top brass.
Image via www.apple.com
Apple Maps proved to be a substantial black eye for Apple proper, not only enduring the slings and arrows of critics around the Web, but also reaching the point where CEO Tim Cook had to issue a personal apology letter related to the disastrous release. This was where Forstall's departure kicked in, as he reportedly refused to sign the apology letter. Apple Maps itself, meanwhile, was seen as lacking on several fronts, including glitchy overall performance and a marked lack of public transit information.
Investors, meanwhile, seem to be taking the news well, as Apple stock saw some fairly big gains in intraday trading; however, it's currently trading off the highs achieved this afternoon.
It's not hard to look at Apple's recent stock losses, especially alongside some of their product setbacks and some less than encouraging outward projects, and see why Apple wants to make some big moves to encourage investors to stick with the company, whose every release seems to be sold out in a matter of days.
Bringing in new blood to the upper echelons of the company is commonly seen as bold and dynamic, and shows that Apple isn't afraid to take big chances in the pursuit of profit. Considering that Apple stock has lost about 14 percent of its value over just the course of the last two months (though it actually lost more than that, recovering only in recent days), Apple likely could have used a big show for investors.
Apple's true purpose in firing Williamson is known only to Apple—assuming the reports bear out—but it looks pretty clear that they're looking to make some big moves in the face of a soft global economy and an increasingly competitive environment.
Edited by Brooke Neuman