Apple Maps head Richard Williamson reportedly handed pink slip

Richard Williamson, the person who oversaw the Maps team at Apple, has been fired by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, according to reports in the media. Apple has faced much criticism for its buggy and faulty Maps app ever since it was launched in September this year. Williamson’s pink slip comes in the wake of a reshuffle in Apple’s ranks, announced in late October this year.


Apple announced the reshuffle and outlined all the new key roles of various executives. In the announcement, Apple stated that Scott Forstall, who headed all of iOS, would leave the company in 2013, and serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim. Forstall served at Apple for 15 years, and was regarded as a key executive.

Apple replaced Google’s mapping solution in favour of its own Maps app on iOS 6, but the app turned out to be quite buggy and showed erroneous data such as incorrect city names, warped streets and missed a lot of information. This was especially true for places outside the U.S. The resulting criticism was so vehement and widespread that CEO Tim Cook publicly issued an apology to Apple users following the software's launch.

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Maps fiasco causes more heads to roll.


Apple’s mapping technology is powered by TomTom, the Dutch navigation equipment and digital map maker. In response to the criticism showered upon Apple’s Maps app, TomTom stated that it is more than willing to help Apple fix the problems it is experiencing in its map feature on the latest iPhone.

Apple is working to be independent of Google on all fronts, and abandoning Google Maps for its own solution is one of the major moves the company has made. However, it is rumoured that Google is looking to launch its own Maps app on the App Store. Reports claiming that Google’s iOS Maps app is almost ready for launch surfaced earlier this month, and is expected to include turn-by-turn navigation, just like its Android counterpart.

The iOS mobile software unit headed by Forstall had built a new mapping service for Apple's mobile devices over a few years. Reportedly, tension between Forstall and others blew over in September when the newly released Apple Maps service, ridden with inaccuracies and bugs, received widespread criticism from users. When it came to determining how to resolve the issue, Forstall was of the opinion that an apology was not necessary, and that it could be settled in the way the Antennagate issue with the iPhone 4 was solved. However, Cook and other executives disagreed with this. In the end, the CEO signed the apology note to Apple users.

Features such as turn-by-turn navigation were believed to be among the reasons for causing the rift between Apple and Google. The latter wanted the software to solely feature on the Android operating system and not on its iOS counterpart. Another reason stated was that Google wanted more branding in the app, and in the Google Latitude feature, which helps in locating friends. Apparently, these options did not sit well with Apple, and this led the company to build its own Maps application.

Published Date: Nov 28, 2012 04:58 pm | Updated Date: Nov 28, 2012 04:58 pm