Apology letters

Great essay from Rands on Scott Forstall. It’s one of the first I’ve seen to capture what made Forstall valuable to innovation at Apple:

“While I’d continued to hear about the disdain amongst the executive ranks about Forstall after I left Apple, I was still shocked about his departure, because while he was in no way Steve Jobs, he was the best approximation of Steve Jobs that Apple had left. You came to expect a certain amount of disruption around him because that’s how business was done at Apple — it was well-managed internal warfare. Innovation is not born out out of a committee; innovation is a fight.”

One part of this executive shakeup that had me puzzled was the rumor that Scott Forstall refused to sign an apology letter about iOS 6 Maps. We’ve had a few open letters from Steve Jobs, and now one from Tim Cook. It seemed out of character to have a VP do it, someone who’s lesser known to the general public.

But then I ran across this letter about EPEAT from Bob Mansfield again, posted just a few months ago. It is signed only by Mansfield. It starts:

“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”

In other words: we’re listening, we’re sorry, and here’s what we’re doing to set things right. And I think that’s Tim Cook’s Apple. Proud and passionate about the products they’ve built, definitely, but always sincere. Arrogance has no place.

Manton Reece @manton