Apple's Reorganization Goes Deeper Than Just Who's In Charge
Former Apple employee Matt Drance has an interesting take on yesterday's executive shakeup at Apple. He notes that the new division of responsibilities across three top executives is a sea change from how Apple has traditionally operated.
Not only is this a profound increase in responsibility for all three of these top executives, it’s a profound change in Apple’s organization going as far back as I can remember. There’s a long-standing pattern of separating watershed products important to the company’s future. The Mac and Apple teams. Mac OS X and Classic. The iPod division. iOS and Mac OS X. Suddenly, Tim Cook has pulled the reins in. Federighi owns software. Ive owns design. Cue owns services. Period.
Instead of separating products into different teams, Tim Cook has now divided responsibility for completing products across three separate divisions, each headed by a long-time Apple executive. All three divisions will be required to work together in order to finish and ship anything, necessitating increased collaboration and perhaps consistency across the company.
Om Malik has another take on why Apple's products -- in particular those in Scott Forstall's charge -- have faltered a bit in the past few years: releasing a product based on a schedule, rather than releasing it when it's finished.
The time-based schedule is one of the reasons why Siri and Maps arrived as half-baked products and were met with derision. Many engineers inside Apple could foresee problems with Maps. Why? Because Maps were driven by a time schedule.
Maps and Siri are complex products whose dependencies (for the lack of a better word) go deep into different parts of the phone and even the network. The schedule-driven release culture makes folks less daring — why take arrows in your back for failing to deliver a radical new feature on a pre-dictated time? If this cultural warp continues, Apple might have a bigger headache on its hands. Ive’s appointment as the Human Interface honcho means that more risk-taking needs to come into the products.