The heads keep on rollin' at Apple in the wake of the company's somewhat poorly received and heavily criticized Maps app. As you likely remember, when Apple kicked Google Maps to the curb and ushered in its own homegrown version of a Maps app with the release of iOS 6, the results were less than stellar. Worse yet, and perhaps because people are accustomed to extremely high standards with Apple, Internet memes highlighting Apple's mapping foibles began springing up overnight.
Eventually, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an apology to Apple customers, and as the story goes, Scott Forstall refused to sign his name to it. Consequently, Apple announced shortly thereafter that Forstall would be leaving the company at the end of 2012. And with Forstall out, oversight of Maps fell into the hands of Eddy Cue.
Cue has reportedly been taking a very hands-on approach with Apple's Maps team and earlier today word broke that Cue fired Richard Williamson, the Apple employee who was previously charged with overseeing Apple's mapping initiative. Clearly, Cue means business and isn't afraid to shake things up. All in all, this isn't terribly surprising given Cue's reputation as a "problem fixer" for beleaguered Apple services and a competent executive charged with handling some of Apple's most important online initiatives and negotiations.
Bloomberg, which first broke the story, adds that Apple doesn't yet have someone to fill Williamson's shoes while Cue has plans to put into place a new leadership team to oversee the Mapping group.
Additionally, Apple is said to be working quickly to fix satellite imagery and labeling issues with Maps: In removing Williamson, Cue wants to install a new leadership team for the group, one person said. A replacement for Williamson wasn’t immediately known. Attempts to reach Williamson weren’t successful. A team at Apple has been working to fix the mapping mistakes, focusing first on some of the most glaring problems, one person said. The satellite imagery over the U.K. has been improved and labels for popular U.S. landmarks such as the Washington Monument have been corrected.
Furthermore, Cue is reportedly reaching out to mapping experts for advice while "prodding" TomTom to help fix some of the landmark and navigation problems that have been apparent since day one. Recall that much of the map data in iOS 6 is provided by TomTom
It'll be interesting to see how quickly and significantly users start to see significant changes in Apple's Maps app. As a 1.0 release, it's really not all that bad, but when you're competing with a giant like Google who has been refining and honing Map data for nearly a decade, it's undoubtedly an uphill battle. It's also been previously reported that Apple has been reaching out to former Google Maps employees in an effort to shore up holes within the Mapping group.