One of the architects of Mac OS X -- and a top Steve Jobs lieutenant -- is out
Spending more time with science, rather than one's family, is not the usual reason given for leaving a company where you spent the better part of your career. But that's what Bertrand Serlet says in the (aapl) press release Wednesday that announced his departure.
Serlet also took the opportunity to praise Craig Federighi, who will be taking over as vice president of Mac software engineering.
But what does it mean? Early speculation among the writers who follow Apple like Kremlinologists studying the Politburo centers on the diminishing role of Mac OS X within Apple, its transformation (with Lion) into something more iOS-like, and the rising fortunes of Scott Forstall, senior VP of iOS software, who used to work for Serlet but is now perceived as outshining him.
Below: The paragraph we wrote about Serlet in June 2008, when he was considered a candidate -- albeit a long-shot -- to replace Steve Jobs. And below that, some Hacker News commentary on Serlet's contribution from two former Apple software engineers.
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One of only two members of Apple's executive team for whom English is a second language -- Fake Steve Jobs calls him a "friendly cyborg" from another planet, but he's actually from France -- Serlet came to Apple from Xerox PARC and NeXT, where he developed the workspace manager in NEXTSTEP and OPENSTEP. Having help port the NeXT operating system to Mac OS X, he took over Avie Tevanian's software engineering post in 2003. Serlet is credited with leading development of 10.4 and 10.5 versions of OS X, but he's most famous among Apple fans for his "Redmond, start your copiers" performance at WWDC 2006 -- available on YouTube -- pointing out similarities between OS X and Windows Vista.
From Hacker News:
Also on Fortune.com:
- After Steve Jobs: Handicapping Apple's back bench
- Apple officers sell off 1 million shares
- Bob Mansfield's $10 million payday
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]