A fascinating article posted on Fortune this weekend pointed out something very interesting. Both Maps and Siri, which have been heavily criticised and inaccurate, were overseen by the same man: Scott Forstall. While the article does reference some other very interesting findings about Maps, it is definitely Forstall I want to focus on.
Forstall has been described as a mini Steve Jobs, a control freak who wants things done his way. That’s no bad thing, but perhaps the problem is that his way isn’t the right way.
Garner, the man behind the Maps findings didn’t hold back:
There’s no excuse. Quality control on Apple Maps had to have been terrible to not get this right. Bluntly, Scott Forstall should be fired over this mess.
Jean-Louis Gassee also criticised the way Forstall handled the demo:
[Forstall’s] demo was flawless, 2D and 3D maps, turn-by-turn navigation, spectacular flyovers… but not a word from the stage about the app’s limitations, no self-deprecating wink, no admission that iOS Maps is an infant that needs to learn to crawl before walking, running, and ultimately lapping the frontrunner, Google Maps. Instead, we’re told that Apple’s Maps may be ‘the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever
Forstall is a bit of an Apple veteran, having come from NeXT, gaining his current status after overseeing the original iPhone OS. Clearly, everything Forstall has done hasn’t been a disaster.
However it’s worth noting several things. Siri and Maps were probably two of the biggest tasks he had to deal with since the original iPhone OS, and that was something, you suspect, for which he was heavily supervised by Steve Jobs. Who knows whether can handle the big stuff.
We’ll see over the next few years how performs, but Maps and Siri have been pretty big failures all things considered, and you can’t really deny that what the Fortune article (and its contributors) say is true: Forstall has got to improve or else.