One of our readers sent us secretly recorded snippets of the full inside story of the Maps scandal at Apple.  While we cannot disclose the identity of this tipster, we can confirm the story is 100% true and validated, at least in spirit and existential direction:


July 16 2012, Tim Cook Staffing Meeting:

Secretary of the Meeting: “5 Minutes to You, Mr. Forstall”

Forstall: “Bad news, let me get it out there.  We’ve spent the past 18 months with a team of 100 trying to replicate what Google spent 5 years building with a team of 800.  The bones are all done for Maps for iOS 6, but it just can’t all be done by August 15.  I’m sorry, but it’s just a fact at this point.”

Cook:  “We ship on August 15.  Launch on September 19.”

Forstall: “Understood.  But it simply can’t be done to the level of quality our users expect.  I recommend just extending the Google deal for 6 months until it’s ready.  This whole thing is just an ego trip anyway.  Our customers won’t care.”

Cook:  “We ship on August 15.  Launch on September 19.”

Cook:  “And remember.  Tucked-out long-sleeve dark dress shirts for everyone this year on-stage.  Sleeves rolled down.  No exceptions.”

July 17, Cook-Forstall 1-on-1 Meeting:

Forstall: “Tim – Maps is gonna be a piece of s*** if we ship on August 15.  We have to renew with Google.  Maps will kick a** if you just give us another 6 months.  Even 4 months.”

Cook:  “This is my shop now.  We ship on time.  Period.”

Forstall:  “Jobs wouldn’t never have done this.”

Cook:  “Yeah, and Jobs 1.0 got fired when the Skinny Mac was 12 mos. late and cost $2,500 instead of $1,000.   Meeting over.  Claire, send in Bob Mansfield.”

October 1, Tim Cook Staff Meeting:

Secretary of the Meeting: “5 Minutes to You, Mr. Ive”

Ive: “I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception for the iPad Mini and the super-skinny iMac.  But, uh, the Maps fiasco …”

Cook: “What’s your recommendation?”

Ive: “I know it’s a new thing for us … but … let’s just apologize.  Let’s try.  Just once.  It’s the software, not the hardware, anyway.  Whatever.”

Cook: “Let’s try it.  Any disagreement?”


October 2:  Cook-Forstall 1-on-1 Meeting:

Forstall:  “I need another 100 engineers, then we can get the right maps out by Q1.  And do something really special.”

Cook:  [silence]

Cook: [sound of paper sliding across the table]

Cook:  “Sign the apology.”

Forstall:  “Me?  Me?  I told you this would happen.  I told you it was a POS.”

Cook:  “Sign the apology.”

Forstall:  “Me?  You should be apologizing to me for making me ship it.  This isn’t the deal I had with Steve.”

Cook:  “Think about it.  24 hours.”

Forstall:  “Steve never even apologized for the Apple III.”

Cook:  “Claire … send in Ive.”

October 28.  Cook apologizes.  Forstall fired.  


It’s tough.  Do you ship on-time, or wait until “it’s ready”?  

I don’t know the best way to do things.  I know that if you wait until “it’s ready”, everything slips, productivity  lags, and commitments mean nothing.  I mean, does sales get a pass because it missed the quarter?  Of course not.  Then why does engineering?

But.  Shipping everything on-time is a neat idea from Ops that can’t always fit projects and features that can’t neatly fit into a release schedule.  And that can lead to crappy software.

What I do know is it’s somehow reassuring to see even Apple hasn’t fully figured this out.

>> The great engineering managers though make it seem like it’s less an either/or. 

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