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Apple Maps Claims Another Casualty

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) Maps is on a killing spree, and the app has just added another notch to its casualty list. Bloomberg reports that the Mac maker turned map maker has now fired Richard Williamson, the manager responsible for the Maps app that was launched with iOS 6 just a couple months ago.

Of course, the first Apple executive that's now on his way out is none other than Scott Forstall, the executive that has led iOS development from the get-go. Forstall's departure was part of a major exec shakeup that reorganized management at the highest levels. The final straw was that Forstall refused to sign his name on Apple's public apology over its Maps, leaving Tim Cook to sign it himself.

As part of that transition, Internet services exec Eddy Cue was taking over Siri and Maps, two of Apple's highest-profile software missteps in the past year. It was supposedly Cue's call to let Williamson go as he wants some fresh blood to lead the heavily criticized app. Cue's been tasked with fixing fumbles before, like Apple's MobileMe service that has now transformed into iCloud. One of Apple's primary mapping data partners is TomTom, and Cue is supposedly breathing down that company's neck to fix a lot of its erroneous landmark and navigation data.

Ditching Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Maps has been one of Apple's most controversial strategic moves. The search giant is reportedly building a new third-party Google Maps app for iOS and is preparing to submit it to the App Store for review. Other rivals like Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) have also recently launched mapping offerings on iOS to benefit from Apple's mistake. Nokia's new Here app was released earlier this month and has gotten a warm reception.

Apple's always been big on internal accountability, assigning a directly accountable individual, or DRI, responsible for any given project. If Williamson was considered a DRI for Maps, it's not surprising that he got axed.

There is absolutely no argument that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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