Apple's MobileMe technology chief departs to lead Thumbplay

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The director of technology for Apple's MobileMe service has departed to become the chief technology officer at Thumbplay, a U.S. media subscription service, the company revealed Monday.



Pablo Calamera was announced as the new lead tech for Thumbplay, a cloud-based data-syncing product for Macs, iPhones and PCs. Starting March 8, Calamera will work from the company's headquarters in New York.



The recruitment of Calamera comes as the company recently launched its own all-you-can-eat music subscription plan, Thumbplay Music, currently available to select users in beta form. The company was previously focused on ringtone sales.



Calamera worked with Apple for 10 years, where he oversaw MobileMe. He also spent six years at mobile services company Danger and two years with WebTV, both of which were acquired by Microsoft. In all, he has worked for more than 25 years in PC, mobile, set-top box and cloud computing.



"We are thrilled to have Pablo join our team. He has unique experience with Apple, Danger and WebTV in delivering and syncing content across multiple platforms for a scaled customer base," said Evan Schwartz, Thumbplay CEO and co-founder. "He has also managed major integrations with U.S. and international carriers; an area of ongoing strategic importance for us."



"Over the course of his career, he has done an extraordinary job of building state-of-the-art consumer products and services from concept to completion. Technological innovation is paramount to Thumbplay, and Pablo's talent, experience and commitment to excellence will play a vital role in keeping us at the forefront of mobile entertainment offerings."



As head of technology development, Calamera will oversee all of Thumbplay's technology initiatives, including the unlimited, on-demand music streaming service. For $10 a month, consumers can listen to the millions of songs available, though customers do not own any of the songs.



"Thumbplay has an incredible talent pool, and they have done a remarkable job in building robust, feature-rich services that deliver beautifully across multiple platforms," Calamera said. "This is a very difficult thing to do, and I have been consistently impressed with the energy, smarts and creativity on display. I am greatly looking forward to working with Evan and the entire Thumbplay team to deliver against our very ambitious goals for the future."



Calamera's departure comes as Apple is rumored to be pushing its own industry-leading iTunes Music Store into the cloud, offering users the ability to stream their music library from anywhere on a number of devices. In December, Apple purchased streaming music service Lala for $85 million.



For years, rumors have persisted that Apple could offer a music subscription service with iTunes. However, as of late, Apple has reportedly been more interested in TV subscription plans, though major U.S. networks have allegedly rejected proposals.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    Well, it's obvious Mr. Calamera didn't realize his potential with MobileMe. I hope they hire someone who can take it from "Meh" to "Wow."
  • Reply 2 of 58
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post


    Well, it's obvious Mr. Calamera didn't realize his potential with MobileMe. I hope they hire someone who can take it from "Meh" to "Wow."



    That's tough to say. I think he did a great job with the MobileMe webapps, and I think Apple has more likely crippled and slowed his projects to serve their slow feature rollout schedule.
  • Reply 3 of 58
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    That's tough to say. I think he did a great job with the MobileMe webapps, and I think Apple has more likely crippled and slowed his projects to serve their slow feature rollout schedule.



    Always the negative view of Apple with you isn't it?



    This guy was in charge during a highly publicised f*ck-up that required apple to bring in an executive higher than him to "fix," Steve Jobs to apologise in person, and for them give money to the end users for their suffering. And yet the first thing you think of is that this guy is "great" and Apple management is at fault? WTF?



    Occam's razor alone suggests that if he's been on the job ten years, and MobileMe has been "meh" for ten years, that he's the guy to blame. I've used it since the first day .Mac was opened and it's been definitely "meh" IMO.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    Whether it's a bunch of people following their bosses(?) to Palm, or this case, I don't like seeing people leave Apple... The initial thought is:



    Did they ask Apple for a raise and didn't get it, and so they left for elsewhere, where they already had a job waiting for them?



    Did they give Apple a chance to match the other offer, plus a promotion maybe? Yes, I suspect that it could be a dangerous precedent to set for Apple to engage in such "$$ wars"...



    In case of Rubenstein and Palm, he gave me a funny feeling every time I saw him speak. But, when he was at Apple, I get he did something right, otherwise he wouldn't have been there... Hey, at least in tech there is no badmouthing afterwards, unlike in politics..., or at least not yet!



    There could be other Qs that one can think of regarding such Apple departures, but these are mine for now... And, in reality, none of us will ever know the "real story" in cases like that... Why do the dirty laundry in public, if it's not War Of The Roses, highly charged Celebrities Divorce, with all the PR Blood...



    The funny part would be if Apple ends up buying this company later... I wonder if Palm people, and other former Apple people, will ever be going back to Apple..., and if Apple would take some of them back...?!



    BTW, semi-off topic(?) - I stopped by at my Verizon store, and they were pushing Motorolla Droid, while Palm phones were not even connected to the Internet!!! Funny... Rubenstein can write his letters to the "team", and this Mobile me guy can be free to create at his new company, but in LIFE, at Verizon store (in this case) it's APATHY, at best, as far as employees, while, a few doors away, iPhones sell themselves at ATT store... Sprint and T-Mobile stores look even sadder... And, of course, nothing beats Apple Stores...
  • Reply 5 of 58
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    Possibly the staff acquired from lala (such as Bill Nguyen) have been put into place above him. So the writing was on the wall...
  • Reply 6 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Always the negative view of Apple with you isn't it?



    This guy was in charge during a highly publicised f*ck-up that required apple to bring in an executive higher than him to "fix," Steve Jobs to apologise in person, and for them give money to the end users for their suffering. And yet the first thing you think of is that this guy is "great" and Apple management is at fault? WTF?



    Occam's razor alone suggests that if he's been on the job ten years, and MobileMe has been "meh" for ten years, that he's the guy to blame. I've used it since the first day .Mac was opened and it's been definitely "meh" IMO.



    I've used MobileMe/.Mac for a long time too and continue to do so....I agree it has not reached its potential.



    I primarily rely on the syncing of contacts, links, preferences, mail, etc. And rely on it even more now with the advent of the iPhone.



    I've just started to use the Gallery to share video shot from my iPhone as it seems to the easiest way to do so.



    I know there are a lot of free individual Apps out there from Google and others but they always seem a bit fragmented...Apple's integration is worth the price of admission!



    Ps. I do use DropBox rather than iDisk which is to slow and inconsistent. Very impressed with DropBox



    But again, I agree it is has a lot of room for improvement!
  • Reply 7 of 58
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Always the negative view of Apple with you isn't it?



    This guy was in charge during a highly publicised f*ck-up that required apple to bring in an executive higher than him to "fix," Steve Jobs to apologise in person, and for them give money to the end users for their suffering. And yet the first thing you think of is that this guy is "great" and Apple management is at fault? WTF?



    Occam's razor alone suggests that if he's been on the job ten years, and MobileMe has been "meh" for ten years, that he's the guy to blame. I've used it since the first day .Mac was opened and it's been definitely "meh" IMO.



    I got 3 months of free Mobile Me thanks to that screw up.



    I don't think it's great value, but it's not expensive either. Knowing my Calendar and Address Book are always up to date no matter where I am or what device I have access to is great. Push email is nice too.



    Back to my Mac: 25 cents per day

    Being able to defuse an angry wife with computer troubles without leaving my desk at work: priceless.
  • Reply 8 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    Ps. I do use DropBox rather than iDisk which is to slow and inconsistent. Very impressed with DropBox



    Oddly, the iDisk app on the iPhone works much better than me.com, Finder or even Transmit FTP. I will often pop a video in there before I leave the house if I can't sync and then stream it later from the site to my phone. Works great.
  • Reply 9 of 58
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    Would you really want WebTV featured prominently in your CV?
  • Reply 10 of 58
    ibillibill Posts: 391member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macologist View Post




    In case of Rubenstein



    I believe in the case of Rubenstein that he retired from Apple. I don't know the details of his move to Palm, but I read recently that he was "lured" (out of retirement) to go to work for them.
  • Reply 11 of 58
    carniphagecarniphage Posts: 1,984member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    That's tough to say. I think he did a great job with the MobileMe webapps,



    But to echo Gruber.



    What is the point of the web apps?

    If we are sitting at a Mac - then we have real apps. Real iCal , real Mail and real Contacts.

    And if we are not sitting at a Mac - then we have our iPhones.



    The web-apps are a me-too gesture. But I don't think many Mobile Me users actually find them of benefit.



    At the same time every year, I question what the point of Mobile Me is.
    • The email service is a mirror of other free services.

    • iDisk just too weak to use. Dropbox beats it hands down.

    • The web-apps are of little actual value.

    • And if I want to share photos, I will use Flickr.

    I pay my fee mainly because I like the myname@mac.com address.

    But annoyingly, I am not allowed to send email *from* this address (from my iPhone) because it is not my primary mobile-me username.



    Grrr.



    C.
  • Reply 12 of 58
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post


    ...I pay my fee mainly because I like the myname@mac.com address.

    But annoyingly, I am not allowed to send email *from* this address (from my iPhone) because it is not my primary mobile-me username....



    Ditto.



    I can't see why I shouldn't be able to add an email account to my iPhone which is one of my MobileMe aliases. Apple just doesn't "get" the Internet or social media at all really.



    IMO their biggest flaw in general is how "cold" and unsocial the company is in general. They don't blog, or tweet, (or much of anything), and the management is totally old-school in that regard.
  • Reply 13 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tods View Post


    Really? The iDisk app NEVER keeps files in offline storage like it advertises. It just throws up a bunch of error messages if I try to browse previously viewed files offline.



    I singed up for iTools about five minutes after Jobs announced it, and will probably continue to subscribe. But I have to admit that this guy's new job sounds a lot more exciting. Good for him.



    I'm talking about using online storage to streaming A/V on my iPhone. I drop into my local iDisk app on my Mac which syncs to MobileMe. In regards to iDisk itself, it's the best feature of it.



    If you are getting errors with syncing you might have a firewall issue. MacOSXHints.com forums is great for troubleshooting such issues.
  • Reply 14 of 58
    silenciosilencio Posts: 134member
    Well, not everyone who uses MobileMe has an iPhone, or even a Mac.



    I recently set up a MobileMe account for a small business where the owner has a Mac / iPhone and his assistant has a Mac at work but a PC at home. At work she uses Address Book and iCal to manage the owner's calendar and contacts, but when she has to work remotely the web interface comes very much in handy.



    If you have two or more Macs, or a Mac and an iPhone, then MobileMe is almost a no-brainer. The syncing functionality alone is totally worth the price for me, and Back To My Mac works so well I dumped my flaky old Netopia VPN router. Other features like iDisk are really just a bonus for me.



    Still, there are many small and large ways in which MobileMe can be improved. Unlike some people, I don't really have a problem with people leaving Apple now and again: sometimes you need a fresh perspective and approach to a product, and I trust Apple's executive team to know which managers are really important to hold onto.
  • Reply 15 of 58
    launfalllaunfall Posts: 38member
    I, too was caught up in the excitement of MobileMe, signed up immediately, and have had nothing but problems ever since. Synching is sporadic at best, availability of iDisk spotty, uploading is laconic to say the least, and the sharing mechanism sometime requires several attempts before anyone gets the download message ( I have to always add my own email address to the send field just to make sure the intended recipients get their email).

    This is a disastrous service and an embarrassment to Apple. It was flawed from the start and has remained so. Mr. Calamera is now free to screw up another service. I, for one, am delighted he is gone, and hopeful Apple will use this opportunity to bring MobileMe up to the level it should have been at the start.
  • Reply 16 of 58
    columbuscolumbus Posts: 281member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kresh View Post


    Would you really want WebTV featured prominently in your CV?



    Would you want any of it on your CV? It's unfortunate, but both MobileMe and Danger have hit the headlines for massive failures.



    A new face in charge of MobileMe wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I know the iWork.com team makes them look productive, but I thought the point of web apps were that you could rapidly increment and develop new features.
  • Reply 17 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Oddly, the iDisk app on the iPhone works much better than me.com, Finder or even Transmit FTP. I will often pop a video in there before I leave the house if I can't sync and then stream it later from the site to my phone. Works great.



    I'll try it I do have the iDisk on my iPhone and the MobileMe Gallery App! Thx
  • Reply 18 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Always the negative view of Apple with you isn't it?



    This guy was in charge during a highly publicised f*ck-up...



    Yep, that's your guy. This guy has 'sank the Titanic' on his resume and is now being put in charge of a bigger boat.



    It's comforting to know you can fail upward in tech to.
  • Reply 19 of 58
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by manfrommars View Post


    Yep, that's your guy. This guy has 'sank the Titanic' on his resume and is now being put in charge of a bigger boat.



    It's comforting to know you can fail upward in tech to.



    Ah, the Peter Principle at work.



    Here's hoping the change of venue was "highly suggested".
  • Reply 20 of 58
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by columbus View Post


    A new face in charge of MobileMe wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I know the iWork.com team makes them look productive, but I thought the point of web apps were that you could rapidly increment and develop new features.



    Actually web development is slow. Which is why Facebook costs million, possibly billions of dollars, to develop and maintain. If they simply launched it on, say Mac, the costs would probably be only a couple million because all the interface designs more or less come for free when you develop for the Mac, since they're provided by Apple. For the web, there is no such framework that you can easily do a model-view-controller. You have to build the entire thing yourself. I should know... I get paid thousands to do this sort of hack-ish work



    The main benefit of having a web app is that everyone can use it no matter the platform. Having it always available is just a nice bonus. And features definitely take awhile to develop, especially if you want them well-done in terms of UI.
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