iPhone 5, iOS 6. Surface, Windows 8.
Scott Forstall was the man behind iOS and Siri. Steven Sinofsky was the President of Windows Division. The men were favorites of their founders, Jobs and Gates. Each has a long record of success. They were seen as successors to Ballmer and Cook.
Instead, within weeks after their biggest wins, the two arecast aside. Their former colleagues criticize them openly. What happened?If Your Boss Thinks You’re Better Than He Is…
… you’ll find yourself jobless.Scott Forstall
Forstall was the guy who looked at new stuff and might say That’s not how Steve would do it or Steve would want it this way. He should know, he came to Apple with Steve Jobs from NeXT in 1997. Jobs was his mentor and his sponsor.
Scott Forstall did not disappoint.
In his time at Apple, he had successfully supervised Mac OS X and iOS. He was the point man Siri and Apple Maps. He played crucial roles in the release of iPads and iPhones. In every case, he had been handpicked bySteve Jobs who backed him when he ran into roadblocks or opposition.
He did not always have cordial relations, but always delivered on his projects. He was called mini-Jobs. Fortune called him the next CEO of Apple.
After the Apple Maps disaster in iOS 6 (and iPhone 5), Tim Cook publicly apologized. Cook also asked iPhone owners to use Bing, Nokia or Google instead of Apple Maps. Cook appeared humble and leader-like to everyone outside. Internally at Apple, it was a humiliation and rebuke to the man in charge of iOS and Apple Maps: Scott Forstall.
Now, the other managers at Apple weighed in on how difficult and uncooperative Scott was. The circle was complete.
Scott Forstall was relieved of his duties. He will serve out 2013 as an advisor, before he’s eased out. No Steve Jobs to protect him now.Steve Sinofsky
Not long after he joined Microsoft in 1989, Steven Sinofsky met and impressed Gates. As successful record saw a meteoric rise, he also had the backing of Gates himself.
After successfully leading the Microsoft Office division, Sinofsky was asked to head the Windows Divisionafter the Vista disaster. Sinofsky delivered Windows 7 ahead of time, impressing both the consumers and company with software that delivered more than it promised. Just as he did with Microsoft Office, he raised the quality and reputation of Windows.
Powerful critics of Sinofsky within Microsoft lost their arguments and left the company— all except one.
Sinofsky was in the thick of things. He ran the Windows Division; he was in charge of developing Microsoft Surface; he was in charge of merging Zune and Xbox operations and software, integrating Windows Phone into the Windows superset; and so on.
He certainly was the most powerful man at Microsoft after Gates and Ballmer. He also overestimated his importance to Ballmer and Gates. The die was cast long ago. Right after the release of Windows 8 and Surface, Ballmer-Sinofsky showdown happened. Only person surprised by the “mutually agreed” departure was, perhaps, Sinofsky.
There are statements from Microsoft about how collaboration and horizontal integration are important. All of them mixed with whispers of how uncollegial the “empire builder” Sinofsky was.Questions?
Clearly, both Sinofsky and Forstall were high achievers and remarkable talents— more so than all, or at least, most of their peers. No place for the talented in Apple and Microsoft, if they argued with their colleagues?
Even if Forstall and Sinofsky were obnoxious, as people would have us believe, why were Cook and Ballmer unable to control them or compel them to work with others? What does that say aboutTim Cook and Steve Ballmeras leaders?
Apple and Microsoft are managing with a depleted bench. Sinofsky’s job is shared by two managers promoted from within, neither likely to replace him in the long run. Forstall’s job is given to a manager who retired (rather than tangle with Forstall) and came back. Where are these tech giants going to find a new generation of leaders with vision any time soon?Recommended PostsTuesday, August 6, 2013
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