Apple fires head of maps unit

The company is still reeling from a series of high-profile errors in its new maps software, and reportedly wants to rebuild the team in charge.

By Kim Peterson Nov 27, 2012 4:11PM
Businessman using smartphone -- Image Source, Image Source, Getty ImagesBoy, Apple (AAPL) is still smarting over the Apple Maps debacle that resulted in a very public apology from its chief executive.

The company has fired Richard Williamson, the leader of the mapping team, Bloomberg reports. The shakeup was caused, in part, by Eddy Cue, the senior vice president who was just given managerial oversight of maps.

The Maps mistake was a rare screwup for the company, and a high-profile one as it attempts to offer a competitive alternative to the popular maps from Google (GOOG) and others. Apple said that London was in Canada, according to reports. It couldn't find Tokyo Station, one of the world's most important train stations. This Tumblr site has a great collection of forehead-smacking errors.

Apple responded to the flub by dismissing Scott Forstall, the head of its mobile software unit, last month. Forstall was known as a divisive, polarizing figure that other managers avoided, and some employees were ecstatic after he left.

Apple apparently had more housecleaning in mind. Bloomberg reports that Cue wants to install a brand new management team for the maps division, and is consulting with outside mapping experts. Employees are also working with TomTom NV (TMOAF), the digital maps company that provides mapping content, to get fixes for some of landmark and navigation errors.

Apple is also said to be aggressively stealing mapping experts away from Google in hopes of perfecting its service.

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Nov 28, 2012 5:13AM
London is in Canada between Detroit and Toronto
Nov 27, 2012 11:08PM
I have had a Google Nexus 7 since July - Google maps and a couple of android apps are amazing - don't need Apple !!
Dismal failure merits dismissal.  Unless your a big spender POTUS.
Nov 27, 2012 6:39PM

Without Steve Jobs this is probably going to be the norm for Apple here on out...


Small updates to there existing products and lots of bugs..


Nov 27, 2012 6:25PM
The top reason why I haven't upgraded my iPad 3rd generation from iOS 5.1 to  6.
Nov 27, 2012 6:13PM
Not surprising that he had to be shown the door...
Nov 27, 2012 6:03PM
Once you have had a droid, the iPhone seems like garbage and so sub par. I was all for it for like a month after I got my phone, until it kept crashing, stopped recognizing it's charger cords (with 2 different chargers)., and I basically realized that there was literally NOTHING special about it. I really don't get all the hype over Apple products....and I can say that now having used both the phone and the computers.
Nov 27, 2012 6:00PM
Rich, the door is on your left. No, no Rich, the other left- oh Rich you've gone too far down that hallway - you know what, just stay there, we'll get someone to escort you out of the building.
Nov 27, 2012 5:31PM
I recently purchased a new I-Phone 5 and had it for ten days before calling Verizon for a trade in. The phone was the worst smartphone I've ever owned, it doesn't support flash player (I realize that is somewhat antiquated but there is still ALOT of apps that run on flash), the screen is still way too small, for some reason the reception was bad (not sure if that was totally about the phone but my droid never had issues with the same provider) and if I was texting with someone that had a blackberry every other text came through with wierd symbols like $&#^^%@. Then, I tried to download music FROM MY APPLE COMPUTER and it said the software was out of date so I downloaded the newest itunes software and for whatever reason, still couldn't sync music - for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the hype was all about??? Think I'll stick with my basic IPOD for music and use other makers for the smartphone (I really liked the droid I had but I'm going to try the Samsung Galaxy now). The lady at the Verizon store said that several others who were not "raised" on I-Phones were bringing them back as well for the same reasons - go figure.
Nov 27, 2012 5:24PM

The new Maps is an unmittigated disaster.

I've put in exact addresses -- sometimes including city, state, and zip -- only to have the program give me some completely random location.  Sometimes the street name will be close -- can you say autocorrect -- and sometimes it will be completely unrelated, like not even in the same state.  I don't even try to find something like a landmark or hotel anymore.  It's screwed those up way too many times.

But it sure is pretty to look at.

Nov 27, 2012 5:21PM
Apple is also said to be aggressively stealing mapping experts away from Google
I thought apple invented that !!!
Nov 27, 2012 5:04PM
They fired him, but where will he go?
Nov 27, 2012 4:58PM

It was not broke so you should not have fixed it.


Nov 27, 2012 4:47PM
Ha I called for their stock price to drop back in Sept.  Like I said then their products are no longer innovative but incremental.  They have no answer to their competition, they won't suddenly collapse but trend down.  Slow grind.
Nov 27, 2012 4:45PM
Another epic fail:  I bought an iPad mini.  It seemed like the perfect size to me, even after Steve Jobs said consumers didn't want a ~7" screen.  So I buy one.  I get it home and mess around with it for a couple of hours and I'm fairly pleased with it. Then I hook it up to my PC in order to copy some music over that wasn't purchased via iTunes.  The iPad isn't detected.  Hmmm...  So I start troubleshooting and get nowhere.  It doesn't seem like hardware is to blame, so I Google the problem and find the answer.  It seems that according to the box iTunes 11 is required for the iPad mini to be recognized by the software.  Unfortunately, as of today - almost a month after the product launch - the latest version of iTunes is 10.7.  Some people appear to be having luck using 10.7 but none of my computers see it.  Ergo, goodbye iPad and hello Android.
Support communist China, buy Iphones.
Nov 27, 2012 4:26PM
Day late and a dollar short, don't you think, Apple?  Why were your products so rushed to market before adequate testing was done?  More importantly, why don't you manufacture your phones here in the U.S.?
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