Apple Fires Senior iOS Director Richard Williamson Over Troubled Apple Maps [Update]

Bloomberg reports Apple has reportedly fired the manager in charge of its map app, after its debut resulted in a major snafu, which also resulted in the disposal of iOS chief Scott Forstall:

Apple Inc. has fired the manager responsible for its troubled mapping software, seeking to win back the trust of users disappointed after the program debuted in September, according to people familiar with the move.

Richard Williamson, who oversaw the mapping team, was fired by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information wasn’t yet public. Cue, who took over last month as part of a management shakeup, is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts and prodding digital maps provider TomTom NV (TOM2) to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.

With Williamson gone, sources say Eddy Cue is seeking to install a new leadership team for the maps group, but no replacements have been made known yet. He is also seeking outside help to fix Apple Maps and as noted, wants TomTom to fix their landmark and navigation data as the Apple shares the map data.

According to the report, one source noted the team at Apple has been working on fixing map errors, with their focus initially on the most obvious problems. As an example, satellite views over the U.K. have gotten better and major U.S. landmarks have received improved labels.

According to Williamson’s LinkedIn profile (which has yet to be updated to reflect this story), he become a senior director of iOS services in January of 2012, and was formerly a director of iOS software for 7 years prior to that. Before the latter position he was a senior software engineer at Apple for 4 years from 2001-2005.

richard williamson

Williamson’s was part of NeXT Computer from 1987 to 1994, a company founded by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Williamson’s name appears as the inventor on 174 patents according to, which includes many related to mapping services.

Update: AllThingsD reports they have also heard from sources Williamson was fired.

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  • Shuttaman

    Well well well. MAPS SUCKS! Apple lost the ball hard on this one!

  • WatDaPhuck

    When Maps came out, at first I wasn’t that much against it, and thought that I shouldn’t judge it before I actually tried it. And due to the nature of my work, I often have to go around the Lower Mainland (I live in Vancouver), and was perfect to test out the app.

    And now I can honestly say… IT SUCKS!! It took me to the wrong place once, and was off track (if this is a MAP APP, then I should at least be on a road and not a field in between roads where there are houses…) multiple times. Then I open Google Maps in Safari, and found myself appearing on the right spot, meaning the roads showing in the map is not even up to date.

    I know it’s new and should give it some time. But Google is just too far ahead of the game with maps.

  • Tom

    Why don’t they just put back the old maps from ios5 and before?

  • Zzzzzz

    Well this is a good sign. Old developers of iOS are kicked out of Apple. And we know that iOS seriously need something totally new. It may be stable but it’s getting old and boring comparing to Android. Also it needs to give users more freedom such as choosing default drowser or other Apps at least.

  • That would be embarrassing.

  • Breathless

    Well I think it all depends on where you live. I live in the Greater Toronto Area(GTA) and its been on par with the old google maps and better then Nokia maps. I also found the turn by turn directions was needed apart from the old maps.

  • MleB1

    Sounds like a ‘Dilbert’ storyline – hire a guy to fire the guy tasked
    with developing a product no one really needed in as short a time frame
    as possible (and then see it crash and burn), rather than question the
    bosses as to why the product was needed in the first place.

  • Agreed. The old maps was stale and I rarely used it. It was a data hog with no turn by turn. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t a ton of alternative mapping apps (both free and paid) in the App Store. Based on my experience with them, Apple Maps are a huge improvement over the old iOS Google Maps, and have only improved over time.