It looks like Tim Cook was serious when he vowed that Apple would take some serious moves to improve its Maps app in iOS 6. Today Apple fired the manager responsible for spearheading Apple Maps, its navigation app that launched alongside its newest mobile operating system in September.
Senior Vice President Eddy Cue ousted Richard Williamson, who previously managed Apple’s mapping team, according to Bloomberg who spoke with unnamed sources familiar with the situation. Cue is currently recruiting mapping experts from outside the company and is also working with navigation brand TomTom NV to correct the landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.
One source said that Cue hopes to find a replacement for Williamson, but there are no known candidates at this time. A team at Apple has been working to address some of the most crucial flaws with Apple Maps, one person said to Bloomberg, and some issues such app’s satellite view of the UK and labels for some well-known U.S. landmarks have been fixed.
Apple eliminated the Google Maps app from its mobile software in an attempt to distance itself from Google, two sources familiar with the development of Apple’s maps said to Bloomberg in September. When Apple launched iOS 6, Maps was under fire from critics and users alike who reported bugs with the navigation software. The app was largely slammed for inaccurate landmark searches and a lack of public transportation directions, prompting the Apple CEO to issue a public apology – a rare move for the company.
“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers,” Cook’s apology began. “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”
Apple’s spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment on Cue’s move to fire Williamson. This just marks yet another switch-up in Apple’s chain of command. After former mobile software chief Scott Forstall announced his departure in October, Apple saw an executive shakeup that placed Cue in charge of iTunes, the App Store, iCloud Services and now Siri. This also isn’t the first time Cue has had to deal with a troubled Apple product. As Bloomberg reports, Cue was assigned to oversee the MobileMe Internet storage service that eventually evolved into today’s iCloud after a series of mishaps.
Back in September, a source told TechCrunch that Apple was “aggressively” recruiting ex-Google workers to assist in developing its own maps, but this has not been publicly confirmed.