Apple’s (s AAPL) rapid-fire decision to backtrack on cutting staff in its retail stores may look like a rare misfire for the company. But for anybody reading the runes, it’s something more than that: it’s evidence of a significant strategic mistake perpetrated by CEO Tim Cook.

The man responsible for the decision to experiment with a new “staffing formula” that cut employee hours and fired new hires is British retail veteran John Browett. He was hired earlier this year, after an exhaustive search, to take over the reins from Ron Johnson. And Browett’s approach to “bloated” staffing caused such consternation that Apple was forced to make a rare apology and admit that the changes were a mistake.

”Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed. … Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve.”


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