Late this week, the New York Times reported that Mark Papermaster had been relieved of his duties as the head of hardware engineering for both the iPhone and iPod. It was speculated that Papermaster’s departure was the result of the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco, and the resulting PR disaster. Now comes word via the WSJ that the departure, or perhaps firing, had more to do with Papermaster not quite adjusting to Apple’s unique blend of corporate culture.
Exactly how much the problems with the iPhone 4 played in Mr. Papermaster’s exit is unclear. The iPhone 4, a key device for Apple, has been beset by issues such as antenna reception and delayed production of a white version of the gadget. Several people familiar with Mr. Papermaster’s situation said his departure was driven by a broader cultural incompatibility.
Mr. Papermaster had lost the confidence of Mr. Jobs months ago and hasn’t been part of the decision-making process for some time, these people said. They added that Mr. Papermaster didn’t appear to have the type of creative thinking expected at Apple and wasn’t used to Apple’s corporate culture, where even senior executives are expected to keep on top of the smallest details of their areas of responsibility and often have to handle many tasks directly, as opposed to delegating them.
One of these people also said Mr. Papermaster had difficulty maneuvering Apple’s internal politics.
Filling in for Papermaster will be Apple’s current VP of Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield – who you might recognize from Apple’s iPad and iPhone 4 promotional videos.