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Exec responsible for Apple iOS map fiasco walks the plank

No, not that guy, another guy

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Apple's lamentable mapping application has claimed another victim with the apparent firing of Rich Williamson, who headed up the fiasco project in Cupertino.

Sources within Apple told Bloomberg that Williamson had been given his marching papers by senior vice president Eddy Cue, who was recently appointed to sort out the mess generated by iOS's poorly performing Maps app and Siri voice-recognition software, while at the same time coping with his other role as a director of Ferrari S.p.A.

Williamson probably won't be in the market for one of Maranello's speed machines after the firing, but he's not alone. The Maps mess has already cost the job of his former boss, Scott Forstall, who drove off from Cupertino last month.

CEO Tim Cook reportedly fired Forstall after he refused to take responsibility for the crap Maps app and sign a public apology for its failings – although Forstall's prickly demeanor might have had something to do with it as well. Cue will now take a look at the rest of the staff's output as he examines what went wrong.

Apple has been scrambling to fix problems with iOS and its mapping offering after customers rebelled against poor labeling, incorrect information, and misleading travel advice. Cupertino has even resorted to trying to lure Google staff to the project.

Google, meanwhile, is building its own mapping application for iOS 6, although it's concerned that Apple may block the app from the iTunes Store. Nokia, too, is seeking to capitalize on Apple's failings in the mapping arena.

While sales of the iPhone 5 don't seem to have been affected all that much by the problems, the affair did tarnish Apple's aura of perfection that Steve Jobs fought so hard to imbue in the company's public image. Whether Cue can get things sorted out remains to be seen, but Williamson's departure suggests further changes are coming.

Apple, as is traditional in such cases, has yet to comment. ®

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