The story I’ve heard is that at the outset of Apple’s iPhone
initiative, there was a heated debate within Apple as to what OS
should be used [for the iPhone]. Forstall and Serlet pushed for
using OS X. Fadell (and, according to one source, former Apple
executive Steve Sakoman) pushed for using something else.
Obviously, Forstall and Serlet won this debate, and, hyperbolic
though it may sound, it may prove to be the single best early
design decision in the entire history of the company. It seems
hard to imagine the iPhone any other way now, but at the outset it
was not a foregone conclusion that a stripped down and revamped
version of OS X would work for a mobile phone. […]
The word on the street in Cupertino is not that Fadell was pushed
out the door, but that he was never offered a role like
Papermaster’s, encompassing all of Apple’s handheld hardware
engineering. The iPhone has eclipsed the iPod as the A Team at
Apple, and Tony Fadell does not sound like a B Team sort of guy.
So it’s not like Fadell is an unbiased observer here. And as for his comment that Forstall’s ouster resulted in cheering from employees in Cupertino, I’m sure that’s true, but it’s important to keep in mind that the cheering was not universal. At least within Forstall’s iOS division, many engineers and designers liked working under Forstall, and felt that he had their backs. He was divisive — polarizing — not universally disliked.