Huge news: Apple just announced in a press release this afternoon that Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall is leaving Apple next year. Additionally, John Browett, head of retail, is out. Apple CEO Tim Cook will take over retail as an interim until a replacement is found. Cook discussed the news:

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

We heard about Browett last week, but we were not able to verify the information at the time:

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Craig Federighi is taking over Forstall’s iOS position, and he will also lead the OS X division. Senior Vice President of Internet Services Eddy “the fixer” Cue will take over Siri and Maps, as both products are now falling in the same group as the iTunes Store, App Store, iBookstore, and iCloud. Cue famously took over the MobileMe group after the recent debacle, and he successfully led the group through its iCloud transition.

Additionally, Jony Ive will “provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design.” That’s an interesting new role for the Industrial Design guru, who will probably have more of a hand in iOS now.

Bob Mansfield, who will not be retiring now, will lead a new Technologies group: “Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level.”

According to a Businessweek profile, Forstall had a fiery relationship with other executives, including Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield. Some other bits from that article.

  1. “He was as close to Steve as anybody at the company,” says Andy Miller, who headed Apple’s fledgling iAd group.
  2. Insiders say he has such a fraught relationship with other members of the executive team—including lead designer Jony Ive and Mac hardware chief Bob Mansfield—that they avoid meetings with him unless Tim Cook is present.
  3. “I once referred to Scott as Apple’s chief a–hole,” says former Apple software engineer Mike Lee, who left the company in 2010. “And I meant it as a compliment.”
  4. According to the story, iPod godfather Tony Fadell and Jean-Marie Hullot CTO of Apple’s application division until 2005 left Apple after clashing repeatedly with Forstall. Jon Rubinstein, a former iPod chief who left for Palm in 2006, chatted amiably at a Silicon Valley party last month, until Forstall’s name came up. Then he turned away abruptly. “Goodbye!” he said.
  5. Before the iPhone 4 went to market, Forstall persuaded Jobs to allow dozens of his engineers to carry prototypes of the device to better test its network performance and minimize dropped calls, says a former Apple employee who was a manager at the time. That’s how Gizmodo got ahold of it.
  6. Forstall has cashed in over $40 million in Apple Stock. Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group, says that he would consider downgrading Apple stock if Forstall were to leave.

Notably, Forstall was not on-stage at the recent iPad mini event an instead was in the crowd. The statement from Apple today said Forstall would stay on as an advisor to Cook, but that’s likely just to tie up loose ends.

Browett, on the other hand, got the boot earlier, and—as any Apple Retail persons will tell you—his presence won’t be needed going forward.

The press release is below:

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Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.