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Former OS X chief working on cloud startup with other ex-Apple employees

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Bertrand Serlet, formerly the head of OS X development at Apple, has reportedly been working with a cloud computing startup called "Upthere" since he left Apple last year.

Serlet is working with at least two other former Apple employees at the company in downtown Palo Alto, Calif., according to Business Insider. The company is described as a "cloud hosting provider" with "consulting services in the field of cloud computing."

Said to have joined Serlet at Upthere is Roger Bodamer, a former vice president of product operations and development at Apple, as well as Justin Maxwell, a former Apple user interface designer.

Other details on Upthere are scarce. The company filed for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization in September of 2011, which was granted.

A job posting for Upthere didn't identify Serlet or any other ex-Apple employees by name, stating only that the company's founders "were key to building the world's leading operating system (Mac OS X) and database (Oracle) and have a clear vision of core technology for a Cloud OS."

Upthere


The departure of Serlet from Apple was announced in March of 2011, making him one of a handful of key executives that would exit the company last year. Retail chief Ron Johnson also announced last June that he would be leaving Apple in November become the new chief executive at retailer JC Penney, while company co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs passed away last October at age 56.

Serlet worked with Jobs for 22 years before last year's departure, which he said would let him "focus less on products and more on science." He was replaced at Apple by Craig Federighi, who is now responsible for the development of OS X.
post #2 of 25

Doesn't Apple require non-compete agreements from key employees?  

 

Should they shut these guys down?  Why aren't they using what Apple taught them to further Apple's iCloud inititative, rather than trying to kill it?

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

Doesn't Apple require non-compete agreements from key employees?  

 

Should they shut these guys down?

 

Itchy trigger finger?

 

No one knows (yet) what these guys are doing and to what extent (if any) it violates their agreements with Apple or whether these agreements even apply in this case. I'm not even sure non-compete agreements are very enforceable in California.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

Why aren't they using what Apple taught them to further Apple's iCloud inititative, rather than trying to kill it?

 

Maybe Apple didn't want to do what these guys want to do. Who says they're trying to "kill" anything (let alone what Apple is doing)?

 

 

 

Sheesh.


Edited by MJ1970 - 6/29/12 at 12:25pm

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post #4 of 25

That is so funny! "Up There" is a long running joke at our office ever since an email interchange that went something like:

 

- "Ok the file is up there."

 

-- "I don't know where "Up There" is but I don't see the file."

 

- "It is in the folder with your name on it."

 

Ever since then it is always "Up There" with lyrical emphasis.

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post #5 of 25

Too bad Apple didn't buy Sun when they had the chance. They could always snatch up Joyent (its made up largely of ex-Sun engineers) as its pretty much in the same area Up There is targeting.

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

Doesn't Apple require non-compete agreements from key employees?  

Should they shut these guys down?  Why aren't they using what Apple taught them to further Apple's iCloud inititative, rather than trying to kill it?

I for one am glad to see Steve Jobs' "DNA" out there evolving the tech universe. All these guys were hired and trained by Jobs and have the Apple Way in their genes...

Except for Rubin of course. :-)
post #7 of 25

I'm starting a "cloud hosting provider" business.  The name is based on what you think when you think 'clouds' and that is "UP" and the second half of the business name is when you define ALL your stuff and that is "YOURS".

 

 

So, 'Up Yours' for a "cloud hosting provider" business name...  What do you think?...

/

/

/

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post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

Doesn't Apple require non-compete agreements from key employees?  

 

Should they shut these guys down?  Why aren't they using what Apple taught them to further Apple's iCloud inititative, rather than trying to kill it?

Sounds like these guys are creating enterprise solutions which Apple isn`t very big on.

 

As far as furthering iCloud, these guys probably got tired of Apples half-assed attempts at cloud computing and moved on.

post #9 of 25

Serlet built Interface Builder for NeXTSTEP 1.0, the visionary UI design tool that has endured and evolved into it's latest incarnation in Xcode, and which has been used to design the user interface for just about every NeXTSTEP, Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad app since. He also contributed significantly to the development of OS X and Cocoa.

 

He isn't poaching anyones intellectual property, and can pursue whatever interests he wants.

 

Best of luck to him!

post #10 of 25

That's surprising, when he left Apple I got the impression he was going in to research, not going to do a startup. 

post #11 of 25
700

Not really sure what the fascination is with the cloud. Data management seems like such a dull thing to do. It's not like he needs the money.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Bertrand Serlet, formerly the head of OS X development at Apple, has reportedly been working with a cloud computing startup called "Upthere" since he left Apple last year.

Sounds more promising than becoming the CEO of JC Penny
post #13 of 25
"Serlet built Interface Builder for NeXTSTEP 1.0, the visionary UI design tool that has endured and evolved into it's latest incarnation in Xcode, and which has been used to design the user interface for just about every NeXTSTEP, Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad app since. He also contributed significantly to the development of OS X and Cocoa."

Nope! It's another Frenchman: Jean-Marie Hullot…
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiC-MAC View Post

"Serlet built Interface Builder for NeXTSTEP 1.0, the visionary UI design tool that has endured and evolved into it's latest incarnation in Xcode, and which has been used to design the user interface for just about every NeXTSTEP, Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad app since. He also contributed significantly to the development of OS X and Cocoa."
Nope! It's another Frenchman: Jean-Marie Hullot…

 

Apropos . . .

 

http://rixstep.com/2/0/people/

 

Interesting little page.

post #15 of 25

Think cloud OS, not cloud file storage. These guys are OS experts...

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Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
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post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Apropos . . .

http://rixstep.com/2/0/people/

Interesting little page.

Thanks for the link, brought back so many emotional memories.
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post #17 of 25

And when he left that's when OS X started going downhill until it will eventually becomes iOS.
 

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post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

…going downhill…

😩 やれやれ…
Edited by Tallest Skil - 7/1/12 at 8:25am
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

😩 やれやれ…

Seemingly as fast as his hometowns' company from 1984, which still lives in 1984.
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post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Not really sure what the fascination is with the cloud. Data management seems like such a dull thing to do. It's not like he needs the money.

Clearly,you have no idea about the future potentials in Storage Domain.

Storage is big and it is going to get bigger now that we are all firmly integrated in Web 2.0 with information increasing exponiantially.

Informatoin is where the money is whether you like it or not.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario View Post

And when he left that's when OS X started going downhill until it will eventually becomes iOS.
 

I wonder if the MAC starts sporting iOS as well, then wouldn't that mean that they will eventually follow Window's new business model of a single OS for all computing platforms?

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by libdem View Post

Clearly,you have no idea about the future potentials in Storage Domain.
Storage is big and it is going to get bigger now that we are all firmly integrated in Web 2.0 with information increasing exponiantially.
Informatoin is where the money is whether you like it or not.

Bertrand Serlet has millions though so I doubt his motivation is money.

If you make a sucess of it, the returns can be massive:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/18/behind-the-scenes-at-dropbox/

$240m revenue with 70 staff, some estimates suggest 70-85% profit margins. But like I say, if you already have lots of money, I don't see the cloud as an exciting business to be in unless you do something that hasn't been done before like gaming but that's been done now along with cloud desktops, music and everything else.

Their job ad is intriguing:

http://design.jobmotel.com/jobs/41119

UI Design Engineer (Palo Alto, CA)

Job Description
Upthere is inventing new technology to tame an everyday consumer problem in our increasingly connected world. You will be responsible for designing everything the user sees about our application. The simplicity and elegance of the interface you design will belie the complexity of the hard-core technology underneath.

This is principally a visual design role. Product development will involve a tight collaboration between you, the interaction designer and engineers. Nevertheless, we like generalists so expertise in interaction design or development is a huge plus.

Must Have Qualifications
- You can think out of the box. There's no precedent for what we're building, so you are comfortable creating new paradigms of interaction.
- You are extremely meticulous. Our engineers are perfectionists and we expect no less from our design counterpart.
- You can use typography effectively to establish our identity.
- You have strong iconography skills. You are equally adept at creating 16x16 pixel and large photo-realistic icons.
- You understand HTML, CSS and web standards. Our engineers will faithfully realize your creations but our experience is that the best designers understand the technology.
- You can design us an awesome logo.

Additional Success Factors
- You have experience or education in interaction design or HCI.
- You have experience designing apps for the web, mobile or OS X.

About upthere, inc.
We are an early-stage start-up (6 persons) in stealth mode based in downtown Palo Alto off of University Avenue.
Our founders were key to building the world's leading operating system (Mac OS X) and database (Oracle) and have a clear vision of core technology for a Cloud OS.
If you want to blaze a path across uncharted territories, come start the journey with us!

Job Perks: Work with an amazing team on University Avenue, help change the world : )

They sure need a better logo than what they have now. They can use my Pixar mockup if they want.

They also say 'there's no precedent for what we're building' and 'uncharted territories' so that kind of suggests it's not like any other service that currently exists. So no cloud computing, gaming, hosting, movies, music or desktop. What else is there? A cloud cloud - a cloud service that lets you deploy another cloud service?
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

They also say 'there's no precedent for what we're building' and 'uncharted territories' so that kind of suggests it's not like any other service that currently exists. So no cloud computing, gaming, hosting, movies, music or desktop. What else is there? A cloud cloud - a cloud service that lets you deploy another cloud service?

 

It says they are developing a "Cloud OS," but what could that be? A traditional OS manages your apps, and the cloud is where your data is, so a cloud OS might manage your data in an analogous way. But what would that mean exactly? Well they also have an Oracle guy, and a database is the traditional way to manage one's data. So the traditional form of OS + the traditional form of data management mashed together and cloud-ized? Nope, there is a another conceptual step/leap I'm not making...
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

It says they are developing a "Cloud OS," but what could that be? A traditional OS manages your apps, and the cloud is where your data is, so a cloud OS might manage your data in an analogous way. But what would that mean exactly? Well they also have an Oracle guy, and a database is the traditional way to manage one's data. So the traditional form of OS + the traditional form of data management mashed together and cloud-ized? Nope, there is a another conceptual step/leap I'm not making...

I'd say it would have to differ vastly from the likes of Chrome OS and Jolicloud. There's an interesting link here

http://blog.wilshipley.com/2011/03/celebrating-betrand-serlet-and-craig.html

"Bertrand was at NeXT for as long as I can remember, and over the years he and I established a tradition of meeting every year during NeXTWorld and then WWDC for lunch, and we’d talk about the state of NeXTstep / Rhapsody / Mac OS X and what the future might hold, and I’d always pitch him on my latest crazy ideas.

One year, when I was still at Omni, all our WWDC-going guys used one of these lunches with Bertrand to beg him to bring back Enterprise Objects (“EOF”), after NeXT/Apple had killed everything we liked about it by folding it into WebObjects and then porting it to Java. I still remember the discussion because Bertrand zoomed in on the big idea we were getting at – what did we want in EOF? What was the core part that was cool? What’s the minimum necessary? The idea of storing files in a database, yes, but also the idea of binding to the interface layer from the model layer? He liked these kinds of issues.

Now, of course, Bertrand could never tell us what was in development, he could just say, “Yes, yes, this is interesting, yes… of course, I can’t promise anything, of course.” But, two years later we got CoreData, which had exactly the parts of EOF we had asked for, and it was pretty damn awesome."

CoreData is what FCPX uses for its database.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Objects_Framework

We could assume that apps would all map onto a database directly in the UpThere setup and it would use the experience of the Oracle staff. It can't use localised web-apps if it is to have any success, as businesses can't protect their software so it needs native apps or server apps. It would have to be a unix-based OS.

If it just synced databases across devices, it's more than iCloud but not by much and it would have the same mountain to climb in adoption vs Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. The main thing I can't think of is a problem that is left to be solved by a cloud service. Serlet said his focus would be more on science and not products so maybe it won't have a direct commercial impact.

The company description said cloud hosting and consulting for cloud computing so maybe it will be something to be used by the same people that use Oracle products to compete with Windows Server, .Net and Azure. Serlet doesn't like Windows and OS X isn't making much of an impact but server tech certainly could, though it's hard to imagine anything being a success without a product of some kind.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Objects_Framework
We could assume that apps would all map onto a database directly in the UpThere setup and it would use the experience of the Oracle staff. It can't use localised web-apps if it is to have any success, as businesses can't protect their software so it needs native apps or server apps. It would have to be a unix-based OS.
If it just synced databases across devices, it's more than iCloud but not by much and it would have the same mountain to climb in adoption vs Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. The main thing I can't think of is a problem that is left to be solved by a cloud service. Serlet said his focus would be more on science and not products so maybe it won't have a direct commercial impact.
The company description said cloud hosting and consulting for cloud computing so maybe it will be something to be used by the same people that use Oracle products to compete with Windows Server, .Net and Azure. Serlet doesn't like Windows and OS X isn't making much of an impact but server tech certainly could, though it's hard to imagine anything being a success without a product of some kind.

 

I'd be disappointed if it was just another object->relational mapping framework, or model-driven architecture solution, but there is a market opportunity there. Core Data + iCloud does provide a way to map your objects directly to the cloud, but it's very much for the individual, SQLLite based, not enterprise strength at all.  

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