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Apple Names Jeff Williams Chief Operating Officer, Phil Schiller Now in Charge of App Stores

Apple:

Apple today announced that Jeff Williams has been named chief operating officer and Johny Srouji is joining Apple’s executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the revolutionary App Store across all Apple platforms. Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2016 as vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

“We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Apple’s executive team. As we come to the end of the year, we’re recognizing the contributions already being made by two key executives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Jeff is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with, and Johny’s team delivers world-class silicon designs which enable new innovations in our products year after year.”

Tor Myhren is a new hire, but Williams’s and Srouji’s promotions are only making official what’s been known internally for a while.

Cook continued, “In addition, Phil is taking on new responsibilities for advancing our ecosystem, led by the App Store, which has grown from a single, groundbreaking iOS store into four powerful platforms and an increasingly important part of our business. And I’m incredibly happy to welcome Tor Myhren, who will bring his creative talents to our advertising and marcom functions.”

Schiller taking over the App Stores is very interesting — and is definitely a shake-up that seemingly wasn’t widely known internally until today’s announcement. Up until now, the App Stores were in a weird place in terms of the org chart — they were officially under Eddy Cue because the stores are extensions of the iTunes Store, but partly under Schiller with regard to developer relations. The problem wasn’t that there was conflict between Schiller and Cue, but that without one person in charge of the whole thing, some problems inevitably fell through the cracks.

Treating the App Stores as part of developer relations instead of “media content” is clearly the right way to go. The stores are built on the iTunes Server platform (WebObjects, still!), but running an App Store is nothing like distributing movies, TV shows, books, and music. There are far more improvements that need to be made on the developer relations side of things than the technical side of things (although better search would be welcome).

Putting Schiller in charge might be particularly good news for the Mac App Store. One story I’ve heard — third-hand at best, so take it with a grain of salt — is that it was Schiller who personally pushed for the creation of the Mac App Store, and that he convinced Steve Jobs to go ahead with it. (Jobs, so the story goes, thought the Mac didn’t need an App Store — that the existing means of distributing apps was good enough.) I think Schiller has a personal interest in seeing the Mac App Store succeed.

Thursday, 17 December 2015