Apple CEO Tim Cook has explained that his aim with the recent executive shakeup that saw iOS chief Scott Forstall and head of retail John Browett booted out of the company was to encourage "collaboration."
Cook spoke about the shakeup during a lengthy interview with Bloomberg Business week that was published on Thursday. While Cook didn't specifically name Forstall in his explanation of the shakeup, his comments certainly didn't dismiss reports that suggest Forstall was fired for not being a team player at the company. Father of the iPod Tony Fadell even claims that people were cheering in Cupertino when they heard the news that Forstall would be leaving.
During the interview, reporter Josh Tyrangiel asked: "How did those moves make Apple better, which is a polite way of saying, what was wrong?"
"The key in the change that you're referencing is my deep belief that collaboration in essential for innovation – and I didn't just start believing that. I've always believed that," said Cook. "It's always been a core belief at Apple. Steve very deeply believed in this." (See also: Tim Cook describes CEO transition with Steve Jobs: 'I was surprised, I thought Steve was getting better')
Cook said that he wanted to ensure that Apple takes its already "enormous" level of collaboration even higher. "There are many things. But the one thing we do, which I think no one else does, is integrate hardware, software, and services in such a way that most consumers begin to not differentiate anymore."
"You have to be an A-plus at collaboration," Cook continued. "And so the changes that we made get us to a whole new level of collaboration."
Cook described Jony Ive, who during the shakeup took on the responsibility of human interface design across the whole of Apple while remaining head of industrial design, as having "the best taste of anyone in the world and the best design skill."
"Jony has done a remarkable job leading our hardware design, so let's also have Jony responsible for the software and the look and feel of the software… I think he's very special."
Bob Mansfield, the longtime manufacturing chief who announced his retirement in June but decided in August not to retire after all, will now lead a new group called 'Technologies' following October's shakeup.
"We also placed Bob in a position where he leads all of silicon and takes over all of the wireless stuff in the company," Cook explained. "We've got some really cool ideas, some very ambitious plans in this area. And so it places him leading all of that."
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, SVP of Mac Software Engineering, has taken on the responsibility of both iOS and OS X development, and in Bloomberg's interview Cook described him as "unvelievable."
"These moves take collaboration to a whole different level. We already were—to use an industry phrase that I don’t like - best of breed. But it takes us to a whole new level. So that’s what it’s all about. I know there has been a lot written on that, but that’s really what’s behind it," Cook concluded.