Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker
Apple Inc. (AAPL) said mobile software head Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett are departing as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook embarks on a sweeping management overhaul at the world’s most valuable company.
Not for long.
Forstall will leave next year and serve as an adviser to Cook until then, Cupertino, California-based Apple said yesterday in a statement. Executives Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Bob Mansfield and Craig Federighi will take on added management responsibilities, the company said. Forstall was pushed out, according to a person with knowledge of the dismissal who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Yeah, ok. It's "private" you know, because, well, public companies are "private"
Forstall was well-known as a Steve Jobs boot-licker (who often rewarded such people) and was responsible for Siri and the mapping system.
You know, the one that showed bridges that looked like roller coasters and was generally (and widely) believed to be massively inferior to Google's maps, which Apple tried to replace?
The problem with "iBoy" cult followings is that eventually the sheeple (that's you, incidentally) start to wonder if the cool breeze they're feeling is coming from the repeated shearing they take from over-priced and underwhelming products. Cheerleading is all fine and well and of course positively-reinforced self-delusion is powerful with all cults, and Apple is no exception.
But eventually people start to wonder if the shears will be exchanged for a saw, and if the next "shearing" will be to one's neck. Further, even if it isn't advancement of competitors continues in a relentless fashion, such as the just-announced 10" Nexus 10 — for $399.
I still find the entire tablet "thing" to be puzzling. I've got a couple of them around here and have played fairly-extensively with all except the new "Surface", and I just don't see the reason for them to exist. They make a decent media consumption device but that's IMHO their "best and highest use", and for that I find them too damned expensive. At half the current ask I can see the argument for them on a widespread scale, but not where prices are today.
Apple, of course, has its much-vaunted "valuation" on the premise that you can con people into overpaying for something forever. This rarely works; saturation happens and from there you run into a problem. The iPod has already reached and rolled off that point, which nobody seems to pay attention to, but the numbers are what they are irrespective of the refresh cycles that keep coming and yet fail to drive new unit sales records. Now there is some evidence in the numbers that the iFeminineProduct is beginning to find the same kneepoint. As this little bit of reality spreads through the Apple product line risks to performance go materially higher and more mistakes will be made such as were made with maps as the desperation level rises precipitously along with blood pressures in the Apple executive suite.
I give this game little remaining time; I'm sure that a big part of the impetus for the firings, er, "movings on" came from the roughly $100 decline in Apple's stock over the last month or so.
Just wait until it gets cut in half or more.
Disclosure: The author rode Apple down short and got essentially all of its recent declines, taking the position down just before earnings, and is very much looking forward to more profits as the "iBoi" story continues to bleed out.