Forstall vs. Fadell

Worth keeping in mind regarding Tony Fadell’s “got what he deserved” comments regarding Scott Forstall’s ouster from Apple is that these two guys were directly vying with each other to define the iPhone. From a 2008 piece here at DF:

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.

Friday, 30 November 2012