Businessweek Profiles Scott Forstall

Adam Satariano, Peter Burrows and Brad Stone:

Some former associates of Forstall, none of whom would comment on the record for fear of alienating Apple, say he routinely takes credit for collaborative successes, deflects blame for mistakes, and is maddeningly political. They say he has such a fraught relationship with other members of the executive team—including lead designer Jony Ive and Mac hardware chief Bob Mansfield—that they avoid meetings with him unless Tim Cook is present.

I’m taking that with a grain of salt, given the anonymous sourcing, but if true, that’s not good. Good piece overall, though, and there’s no argument that Forstall is now The Man when it comes to all things iOS.

Update: The thing to keep in mind while reading a piece like this is that no one who currently works with, admires, or even likes Forstall is going to talk to reporters for a profile like this. Their sources are — and they acknowledge this in the article — people who dislike him and didn’t work well with him, or who at least have left the company. But in broad terms I think the portrait they paint in this piece is accurate: Forstall is polarizing within Apple, he’s hard to work under because he’s extremely demanding, and he probably is the most political — or at least politically adept — senior executive in the company.

Also, this bit from the article is the only real “WTF” in the piece:

At weekly Monday meetings, Apple executives disagreed about matters all the time, but could count on Jobs to make the final call. Its board of directors must find a new chairman and take a more assertive role guiding the company.

I’d say this is pretty much exactly the opposite of what Apple’s board should do.

Thursday, 13 October 2011