Apple and its iOS 6 maps – A manual on inefficient management (Pompeunomics)

Everybody knows this by now, iOS 6 maps suck. Everybody was extremely excited about the new version of the maps, but it has turned out to be the work of amateurs and not one of the world’s largest businesses.

I would recommend you to read this summary of the whole situation put together by Techcrunch in case you don’t know what we’re talking about.

The news now is that Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) has released a statement where he, and Apple, apologize about the performance of its Maps application and recommends other maps applications for its users while they fix their own.

That is an unusual move by Apple. Management in the fruit company is quite secretive and there are hundreds -if not thousands- of rumours regarding how the culture of the company punishes mistakes, puts pressure on all layers of the organization and remains obsesively perfectionist about the products they release into the market.

So, how on Earth was it possible that this multi-billion dollar company dedicated to promoting superb products and services has released such a disappointing maps app? It has been, by far, Apple’s biggest screw-up since Steve Jobs returned to management after being kicked out.

Given the whole development process of an app  it is impossible to imagine how the app was simply not reviewed and tested to meet certain specific requirements before it was launched. Probably hundreds of people were involved in the creation of the application and no living soul was capable of viewing that it simply sucked? Either the creation process was bugged or employees saw how lacking it was but dared to say nothing just in case they got themselves fired.

In any case, this whole situation shows that Apple is doing things the wrong way. There is no excuse (from a technical point of view) to release an app lacking features, well below the expectations created by the company itself. And even if it were a development mistake, it takes 20 minutes of testing to figure it out by yourelf.

Apple is often described as an innovative company, yet its environment seems to have become quite rigid. A problem that most big companies operating on a shareholder maximization basis often face. This means that making profits is the most important objective, leaving aside other aspects. And that usually translates in inadequate decissions, easily-solved problems become headaches because nobody wants to make the decissive but uncomfortable movement, and kills creativity.

So, is this going to become the norm in the giant mobile-maker? It might not have a sudden effect in iPhone sales, but it will surely affect the position and performance in the long run.

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