Apple Inc. (AAPL) Execs Leave; Signs of Trouble?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has not exactly had one of its best years in 2012, what with several issues with hardware suppliers, working conditions in those factories, changes in the Apple Stores, great but less-than-overwhelming sales of new smartphone that was called more “evolutionary” than “revolutionary.” And that’s just in the first quarter of the year! (Just kidding.)

Should this Concern Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG)?

So when one looks at where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was on New Year’s Day and where it has been going on the 10 months since, it probably makes sense to hear that CEO Tim Cook announced a couple of personnel changes at the top of the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hierarchy – and they are a couple of prominent positions. Longtime executive Scott Forstall, who had most recently overseen the iOS mobile operating system, and retail head John Browett – whom Cook personally hired to head up the Apple Stores – were both let go.

While the release of Browett is not surprising to some – he received a lot of flak for some of the ‘cost-cutting’ measures he took at the Apple Store facilities, which seemed to hollow out the retail experience at the stores – fewer full-time staff, fewer hours for part-timers, fewer benefits, etc. – but removing Forstall is a little more surprising in that he has been one of the important cogs behind the development of the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS mobile operating system that has made iPads and iPhones so popular. There is talk that Forstall was a conflicting personality to Cook, and Cook felt that making a change would keep the various parts of the company from going off in their separate directions – keeping the company intact and going in the same direction in terms of the culture which the late, great Steve Jobs cultivated.

Neither one of these moves however, don’t truly address quality-control issues, which have been at the forefront of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) troubles. And the timing of these moves is interesting – apparently Cook is willing to trust his other lieutenants to run things effectively through the holiday season, because it seems that Cook will take his time to find the right people to fill these positions. But will quality control improve in the meantime, or continue to be a struggle? Investors in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, will certainly be watching the company closely over the next couple of months to see how it handles the iPhone, iPad and iPad Mini sales and quality during the holidays.