Apple's Botched Maps App Leads to Another Firing
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reportedly fired Richard Williamson, the man who oversaw the mapping team that was responsible for building the company's first Maps application.
According to Bloomberg, Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue pushed Williamson out of the company. If the report is true, it would be the second time Apple reportedly fired someone because of the failed mapping program.
The first incident resulted in the termination of Scott Forstall, the former senior VP of iOS. Forstall was reportedly difficult to work with and would not apologize for failing to deliver a top-tier Maps app.
It is not clear how severely these developments have impacted Apple's value -- or its bottom line. While investors have not been thrilled with the corporate departures (shares are down nearly one percent this afternoon), Apple does not appear to have lost any iPhone sales over the matter.
Regardless, Apple shares are still experiencing a three-month decline of more than 13 percent. Year-to-date Apple is up more than 42 percent. Over the past two years Apple has climbed more than 85 percent.
This rise led many to believe that Apple would become the first trillion-dollar company. Some critics still think that stock could go to $1,000 in the next few years. But unless the company finds a new avenue for growth, that goal may be impossible to reach.
Apple currently relies on tablets and smartphones to derive the majority of profits, and while neither market has peaked, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the company to find new buyers. Smartphones are an easy sell because Apple can convince consumers to upgrade every two years or less. Tablets are much less disposable. And unlike the smartphone market, which sells somewhere around 600 million units annually, the tablet space delivers less than 100 million units each year. Lower prices and cheaper options could change that. But with 100 million iPads already sold, it is going to become increasingly difficult for Apple or anyone else to sell a new tablet.
Even if Apple could maintain the current sales of the iPad and iPhone, it would not provide the company with meaningful growth. This is why many believe Apple will branch out and launch a new TV -- or some other fresh product -- in 2013.
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