Apple Maps Chief Becomes Latest Casualty Of Bungled App Launch

By Khurram Aziz | Nov 28, 2012 12:53 PM EST

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Richard Williamson the man in charge of Apple Maps following the service's disastrous launch has been ousted from the company following the earlier departure of iOS Software boss Scott Forstall.

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Williamson's sacking is reportedly the work of Eddy Cue, who took charge of the map software last month and is racing to turn around the troubled service.

On its launch in September, alongside the new iPhone 5 and the iOS 6 operating system, Apple called its Map app "the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever." However within hours, CEO Tim Cook had issued an apology to customers and recommended they use alternative apps while the company worked on an improvement.

Apple had intended its Maps to be a serious rival to Google Maps, which it removed from its App Store in September in favor of its own offering. But the new software was dogged with inaccuracies and glitches that made it difficult to use.

In his apology Tim Cook said, "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make maps better."

Within days, Forstall, who had been behind the development of iOS 6, was removed from his position with some of his duties being handed to Cue.

Cue, who is Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, is in the process of relaunching Maps and according to reports, is working closely with Dutch satellite navigation system provider TomTom.

Apple has already fixed the satellite imagery over the UK for its Maps app and has improved labels for popular US landmarks such as the Washington Monument. It needs to work fast, however, as other smartphone companies are readying their own mapping services.

This month saw the launch of Nokia's Here maps app, which is available for download from the iPhone App Store as well as on Android devices.

"People want great maps, and with Here we can bring together Nokia's location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world," said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop. "Additionally, with Here we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service."

Google is also rumored to be in the final stages of testing its new Maps app which it hopes will find its way back on Apple's App Store.

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