Report: Apple Fires Guy Responsible For Apple Maps

The world hated his creation, and now Apple is giving him the boot: Bloomberg reports Apple exec Richard Williamson, the name behind the ill-fated, internet-ridiculed app, has been fired.

The canning comes just after the ouster of Scott Forstall, another high-profile Apple figure whose name was unfortunately associated with many of the functional (and cosmetic) black eyes in iOS 6. The initial Bloomberg report says Williamson was fired because "flaws hurt iPhone 5 debut", which is certainly believable — the only news more prominent than the iPhone 5 release itself was how maligned Apple's homemade mapping app was and how much we all missed Google's. There are people who skipped the iPhone 5 because Williamson's Maps. Semi-relatedly, Williamson also cooked up Find My Friends, another poor iOS app.

Just two months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a decidedly un-Apple move and apologised for the entire Apple Maps imbroglio. But apologies haven't been enough to quash the complaining (or, hey, actually make the app better), and so now heads continue to roll. Big heads. But firing is only part of a fix — the app still isn't great, and knocking off the people behind it isn't a panacea. Bloomberg says "in removing Williamson, [Apple Senior Vice President Eddie] Cue wants to install a new leadership team for the group... A replacement for Williamson wasn't immediately known." The answer to that question is what's going to fix Apple Maps' fundamental, landscape-mutating flaws and win back iOS hearts and minds — not simply pink slips. [Bloomberg]



    A good replacement might be the guy who is behind Google maps. He obviously knows what the world is meant to look like! ;) - yeh, hire the guy responsible for this.
      no doubt google maps is very strong but apple maps is pretty good. It struggles to compare to google maps when doing generic searches for keywords. even google can be scratchy in that area and that is their core business. when given an address, it's been perfect for me so far and the visuals via turn by turn are better and clearer than the ones built into my car. Just deal with the fact that Apple don't HAVE to be the best at everything. My lumia 920 is arriving today. I haven't been overly thrilled with the nokia heavily praised maps. I think people are overlooking the flaws as it isn't an apple product, just as google isn't criticised for the faults in google maps. (which were especially shit on iOS and not updated in years)

        The Maps app on iOS is owned by Apple, powered by Google Maps.
        Apple has not updated it in years that is why it's especially shit.

          Right and wrong. As far as I know, Google would only let Apple do so much, for example, Google wouldn't implement turn-by-turn. I believe Google had much more say in the app other than just supplying the data.

            I believe google wanted to implement Turn By Turn, but couldn't because it would require a level of integration with the phone that Apple don't allow 3rd party apps to do.

        I don't think anyone disagrees that Apple Maps is in many ways a superior product than Google Maps was at the same age. But that's not the relevant comparison, given that it was launched as a straight substitute.

        Apple has made very fast progress with their Maps, but not so fast that it was ready to be the default option at the time they chose to launch it.

          Those pics were of the current google earth, not at launch. you can see at the top of each pic. they were done within minutes of each other. the point is, it's really easy to find a fault in a product and show how a competitor does things better. anyway, the point is that, in my opinion, apple maps were more than adequate for release. i can't explain it, i just haven't had an problems with it. Incidentally i retract what i said about nokia maps. the web version is a bit average but the windows 8 mobile app seems spectacular... so far.

            Of course it's adequate. But when you're removing access to one product in order to replace it with another, adequate is not good enough.

    Maybe apple could just bring back google maps instead :P

      That would be a smart move. Apple should leave maps in Google's safe hands, and focus on the other stuff. Whether Apple's egos will allow them to do that is another matter.

    Surely its not just one man's fault.

      I was going to say the same thing. This would have been picked up during testing, would have been flagged "red" in status reports and surely Tim Cook would have known about it (Unless they were planning on giving him a surprise!)

      Thats why he is paid the big bucks... for it to be his fault if something like this happens... If it was the best mapping system ever it would be him that gets the pay rise + credit.

      One man makes promises to the board, one man oversees the entire project, one man gets the axe. Firing a top level executive shows shareholders they are serious in resolving this. His replacement will come in and look at the team and make the necessary adjustments below.

        From reading the Bloomberg article, this guy wasn't a senior exec, he was a project manager/team leader. The actual (and newly put in charge) exec was Cue. I'm not the most experienced manager in the world, but generally looking for someone to blame and firing them isn't a good first move (unless you're Darth Vader, and even then, it only worked for so long). It almost always indicates an organisation unwilling to understand and learn from its mistakes. Oh, wait...

      Even if it isn't one mans fault, if he was the team leader then the blame falls onto him for an inferior product.

    Just goes to show they would rather get rid of someone than fix the problem at hand because that involves spending money and they still expect everyone to buy their product because iPhone

    From what I've read, it's not the app itself that's the problem. The app is fast, responsive, useful etc. The problem is in the data that it's being fed, which is largely not Apple's fault. Yes, they chose the supplier, and we can argue about the effectiveness/politics/reason of dropping Google in the first place, but surely the mapping company feeding Apple the incomplete/erroneous data has to shoulder some of the blame? iOS6 Maps can't be the only product using it?

      Yes it is all Apples fault. They put their name to the mapping product they can expect to cop all the heat that goes along with it. They should have scrutinised the data before releasing it.

    All this on the day that TomTom updates (read cripples) its navigation app to no longer use google search... what is going on?!!

    I have been using Apple Maps pretty much non stop over the last couple of weeks (as I just got a car in a city I've never driven around before) and its pretty good for what it is; a fully voiced free turn by turn GPS. I can safely say without it I never would have found my way to work and it definitely has gotten better since launch. Sure it mucks up occasionally but what GPS doesn't? A friend of mine gave me a lift a couple of weeks ago and was using google maps on his Samsung Galaxy SIII and it made a couple of mistakes on our journey too. New technology is never perfect.

    I will still argue that the 3D maps are the most beautifully artistic representation of cities made of scraps than anything I have seen. Trees that look like crumpled up green garbage bags, houses made of matchsticks and glue, buildings made of off-centre balsa and macaroni; it's gorgeous.
    Functionally, however, I have never used it. But it's pretty to look at.

    Its interesting to me that such a (perceived) progressive company such as Apple, still seeks to blame rather than focus on fixing the problem. Yes, sometimes people aren't the right fit, but the problem is systemic- not an individual.

    It certainly pissed me off and I ended up moving over to a new Nexus 4 and dipped my fingers in the Android pool, now I love it. Sorry Apple, another customer lost.

    The Apple maps are not that bad, they still get you where you need to go.

      Agreed. Plus I've now used turn-by-turn navigation numerous times and it works great.

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