Apple issued a surprise announcement Mondaythat Scott Forstall, the head of its mobile operating system , will be leaving next year. The company also announced that retail head John Browett will leave immediately.
Forstall has been at Apple for 15 years. He joined the company in 1997 when Apple acquired NeXT Computer in order to rehire the late Steve Jobs, and has often been singled out as the executive most like the company’s late founder. He is credited with being one of the original architects of the Mac’s operating system, Mac OS X, and being the driving force behind much of the company’s user interface designs.
Forstall’s ouster comes after lukewarm reactions to two of his most visible projects — Siri and Apple Maps. Siri, while considered a cool feature with potential, has been in “beta” testing since its launch last year.
Uproar over Apple’s new maps program, which replaced Google’s more popular and comprehensive application on the iPhone, led to a public apology from Apple chief executive Tim Cook over the poor quality of the application.