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How Craig Federighi & Dan Riccio were selected to leadership roles at Apple

Apple kills EOF, Federighi leaves

By the end of 1996, Apple had acquired NeXT, hoping to use its all-but-abandoned NeXTSTEP operating system to modernize the Macintosh as the basis of what would become OS X and, subsequently, iOS.

Apple also saw value in WebObjects and EOF, but after it acquired NeXT, many companies pulled back their investments in the technologies in order to distance themselves from Apple. Dell, for example, abandoned its successful WebObjects build-to-order PC web site and started over from scratch on a new one, working with Microsoft.

Without a significant, established enterprise audience, Apple decided to repurpose EOF and WebObjects, first dropping EOF as an integrated component of what would become Mac OS X, and then porting WebObjects from Objective-C to Java in 2001, including EOF as a component of that package.

Apple hoped that porting WebObjects to Java would attract attention from enterprise developers, given that Java was, at the time, considered to be the future of Web development. Instead, the port was widely considered to have destroyed much of the unique value of EOF and WebObjects.

As Shipley described, "After the Java port killed everything beautiful and fun about EOF, Craig left the company — I don’t claim to know his thoughts, but I wouldn’t blame him if it was because they took his baby and turned it into hideous slow ugly beast."

While at Ariba, EOF evolves into Core Data

With the EOF technology he had been managing at NeXT and then Apple reduced to being a component of a marginalized product, Federighi left to join Ariba, a three-year-old B2B company targeting the market for Web-based procurement software.

Ariba had just gone public the same year Federighi arrived, rocketing to a $6 billion valuation and reaching a $40 billion market cap the next year as the company's products were widely used among the dot-com era's rising stars.

After the dot-com crash in 2001, however, Ariba plummeted to a valuation of around $1.5 billion, and has stayed there over the last decade. Federighi remained at the company, initially serving as its vice president of Internet services, then its executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Meanwhile, at Apple Serlet continued discussions with OS X developers on the subject of EOF, asking them what features they missed from the package.

As a result of their feedback, Apple developed an entirely new framework into OS X 10.4 Tiger (and later iOS 3) intended to handle the complexities of routine storage for modern app developers, focusing not just on database access but also XML and flat file binary storage in what would become Core Data.

Federighi returns to Apple

In 2009, Federighi moved from his final job as Ariba's user interface technology evangelist to a new position at Apple, joining Serlet once again to work on OS X, including the Core Data technology that had sprung from the ashes of EOF.

Serlet introduced Federighi on stage that same year at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference to demonstrate a sneak peak of OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard's new Stacks, Quick View, Dock Exposé, Safari 4 and Quicktime X features.

Federighi made a second prominent appearance at Apple's October 2010 "Back to the Mac" event, where Steve Jobs introduced him to demonstrate a sneak peak of OS X 10.7 Lion features, including the then-new Mac App Store, Launch Pad, Full Screen Apps, and Mission Control.

During his demo, AppleInsider noticed another Lion feature Apple hadn't yet discussed: iOS-style scroll bars.

Mac OS X Lion scroll bars

Federighi replaces Serlet

In March 2011, Serlet announced he would be leaving Apple to pursue other interests, noting, "I've worked with Steve for 22 years and have had an incredible time developing products at both NeXT and Apple, but at this point, I want to focus less on products and more on science."

In introducing Federighi as his replacement, Serlet stated, "Craig has done a great job managing the Mac OS team for the past two years. Lion is a great release and the transition should be seamless."

At this year's WWDC, Federighi appeared 43 minutes into the public keynote to introduce the new features of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, before introducing his colleague Scott Forstall to demonstrate upcoming features of iOS 6.

This week, Apple's official promotion of Federighi to senior vice president of Mac Software Engineering, the title formerly held by Serlet, and his inclusion into Apple's Executive Team, ended any basis for speculating that OS X would "die really soon."

On page 3 of 4: Tim Cook is to Jeff Williams what Bob Mansfield is to Dan Riccio