The head of Apple's iPhone software development was asked to resign after he refused to sign a letter apologizing for the flaws of Apple's mapping application, according to a published report.
A report in the Wall Street Journal says Scott Forstall's refusal was the latest clash between him and other executives, and led to the company's announcement Monday that he is stepping down and leaving the company next year.
Forstall's unit was responsible for the Maps application, which was unfavorably compared to the Google Maps app it replaced.
Apple also announced the immediate departure of John Browett, a British retail executive who took over Apple's stores in April. The company said it is looking for his replacement.
Apple has more than 360 stores, and they're unique in several ways. They sell more per square foot than any other chain in the United States, yet they account for just 12 percent of Apple's overall sales. They're ambassadors of Apple's brand, and provide customers with an easy way to access in-person technical support.
At the time Browett was appointed, commentators wondered what an executive from a traditional retail operation would bring to Apple. Browett's move to cut staffing appeared to be motivated by a desire to improve profits, but Apple divisions don't have their own profit-and-loss accounts; they're supposed to support the company as a whole.
Forstall will act as an adviser to chief executive Tim Cook until he leaves, Apple said. His responsibilities will be divided among other Apple veterans.
Craig Federighi, who is now in charge of the Mac OS, will add iOS development to his responsibilities, Apple said, but Jony Ive, the chief designer behind the distinctive look of Apple hardware, will take responsibility for the look and feel of Apple's software.