Apple's head of iCloud infrastructure leaves company, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2017
An Apple executive tasked with managing backend infrastructure for the company's iCloud products, including the iCloud Drive cloud storage service, has left the company, potentially signaling a dramatic shift in favor of in-house data centers, according to a report on Friday.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, CNBC reports Apple's director of internet services operations, Eric Billingsley, is no longer with the company. His responsibilities, which covered the iCloud backend, will be transferred to senior engineering director Patrick Gates, who manages infrastructure for other internet-based services like Siri.

Billingsley joined Apple in 2013 after stints at eBay and, most recently, at Google where he served as director of engineering in the Geo-Commerce organization. Billingsley's arm relied on external cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to help carry the growing weight of iCloud's customer base.

An unnamed source said data center infrastructure has been "a bit of a problem child" in the past, and Apple is looking to Gates to rectify the issue, the report said.

Last year, The Information reported political infighting amongst Apple's engineering teams was hampering the company's ability to fix ongoing issues related to its various cloud services platforms, which include iCloud and iTunes. In 2015, Apple decided to expand the cloud platform that powers Siri -- run by Gates -- to cover other areas of the company's blossoming services business, including iTunes, iMessage and iCloud, according to the publication. The move supposedly created tension between the two engineering teams.

At the time, Billingsley and Gates reported to VP of engineering Patrice Gautier, who is himself a report of SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue.

While not confirmed by Apple, Billingsley's departure suggests the company aims to lessen its reliance on outside services and bring those assets in-house, perhaps as part of the ambitious Project McQueen cloud infrastructure initiative.

The departure comes as Apple's services business enjoys rapid growth. In August, the segment generated revenues equivalent to a Fortune 100 company for the first time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,840member
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    patchythepirateAvieshek
  • Reply 2 of 26
    asterionasterion Posts: 107member
    About time someone was fired in relation to iCloud. Now I know many people have no problems at all with iCloud and iCould Drive, but we have had terrible trouble with folders not syncing; Macs being unable to log in; weird error messages. And Apple support has been next to useless.

    Because our whole team is Mac based, and most of us iPad and iPhone users, we had great hopes for iCloud.

    Needless to say, we've been forced to ditch it and have gone back to Dropbox and external Time Machine storage. And I can't see us going back —once bitten, twice shy!
    Avieshek
  • Reply 3 of 26
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,478member
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Like he doesn't have enough on his plate already.  I think a better way would be is to make Eddy Cue SVP of Apple Software / Services (Music, Movies, TV, iWork / iLife apps, Pro Apps) and have an SVP of iCoud
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 26
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,478member
    If this departure is about Apple shifting its cloud ambitions to building its own custom cloud infrastructure, then that's a good thing. Cloud Infrastructure / AI / ML are core technologies that Apple needs to take control of. In hindsight, this move should have happened sooner.
    AvieshekGeorgeBMaccornchipbb-15watto_cobrapscooter63jony0
  • Reply 5 of 26
    Looking at the terms and conditions, iCloud is intended as a consumer product and not for business use.

    Businesses will try to sign several devices using one “company” iCloud account but this turns into a mess when one person changes the password and then the others lose access or too many logging in with one Apple ID.

    Expecting for Apple support to be “useful” in figuring out how to make iCloud bend for your team is asking a lot. 

    Apple’s business page https://www.apple.com/business/products-platform/

    lists apps and resources used for businesses, even listing Microsoft Word and does not mention iCloud. 

    That gives us an idea where they currently stand.
    edited October 2017 ivanh
  • Reply 6 of 26
    What's iCloud?
    Avieshekcornchip
  • Reply 7 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,603member
    What's iCloud?
    LOL :)
    Avieshek
  • Reply 8 of 26
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,997member
    What's iCloud?
    I had to google it on bing to find out.
    AvieshekGeorgeBMacanantksundaramvannygee
  • Reply 9 of 26
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,540member
    What's iCloud?
    It's this place, a bit like Neverland. I find documents there that I couldn't find on my desktop system, so I know it's a place.
    GeorgeBMacanantksundaram
  • Reply 10 of 26
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,540member
    Any status updates on Project McQueen in the works?
  • Reply 11 of 26
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,356member
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Like he doesn't have enough on his plate already.  I think a better way would be is to make Eddy Cue SVP of Apple Software / Services (Music, Movies, TV, iWork / iLife apps, Pro Apps) and have an SVP of iCloud
    Except Eddy Cue can't get himself out of a wet paper bag when it comes to managing anything at Apple....hence why everything he manages ends up under someone else and then succeeds. 
    edited October 2017 hammeroftruthwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    This has been coming for awhile. Apple has been in the process of building data centers. I think they wanted to move a lot faster in deploying them and perhaps this guy wasn't doing it fast enough. 

    Apple knows its future profits will be in services. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    iqatedo said:
    Any status updates on Project McQueen in the works?
    Data centers are still in the process of deployment. In AZ, their data center is partially up and staffed, but they are still assembling server hardware. There are probably 3 or 4 more centers in different states that are either the same status as AZ or well behind.

    It's probably going to take another 12-18 months before half of them are up.  
    iqatedo
  • Reply 14 of 26
    ksecksec Posts: 1,485member
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Trust me with Siri's head ( Gates ) , assuming Eddy dont mess it up, it is in good hands. I wrote on this on AI a while ago.


    What that basically means is that Apple now has its own Internal PaaS ( Platform as a Services ). The Platform will ( or hopefully ) evolve independent of the Product running on top of it like Siri, iTunes, etc.

    I wrote that in 2015. I guess it takes two years for Apple management to realize the obvious. At least now we have the confirmation iTunes, iCloud will move to Siri's infrastructure. Better late then never. ( Sigh )

    I also write about how Apple is late to the Cloud Infrastructure long time ago, may be even back in 2013. But things hasn't changed much, even with the rumors of so called Project McQueen. Now I think i have a better understanding of why. Apple doesn't compromise, which means all the Datacenter have to be using 100% renewable energy, and they dont build DC in a hurry. They were happy to sit on others Infrastructure for as long as they could unless they have some ridiculous good deal.  The 2nd Reason is the most important one, politics, building one, and holding Data in some countries requires lots of legal and thoughts.   

    Well at least they have their CDN finish and done.

    P.S - I really wish Apple could use FreeBSD on their Server.


    pujones1
  • Reply 15 of 26
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,269member
    Looking at the terms and conditions, iCloud is intended as a consumer product and not for business use.

    Businesses will try to sign several devices using one “company” iCloud account but this turns into a mess when one person changes the password and then the others lose access or too many logging in with one Apple ID.

    Expecting for Apple support to be “useful” in figuring out how to make iCloud bend for your team is asking a lot. 

    Apple’s business page https://www.apple.com/business/products-platform/

    lists apps and resources used for businesses, even listing Microsoft Word and does not mention iCloud. 

    That gives us an idea where they currently stand.
    I am very happy with where they stand. I don't want corporate crap disrupt iCloud services and affect the current business model in effect. There are a lot of places to dump corporate junk, let's keep iCloud clean of that. If iCloud is for individuals then it's better it stays such.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 16 of 26
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,478member
    ksec said:
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Trust me with Siri's head ( Gates ) , assuming Eddy dont mess it up, it is in good hands. I wrote on this on AI a while ago.


    What that basically means is that Apple now has its own Internal PaaS ( Platform as a Services ). The Platform will ( or hopefully ) evolve independent of the Product running on top of it like Siri, iTunes, etc.

    I wrote that in 2015. I guess it takes two years for Apple management to realize the obvious. At least now we have the confirmation iTunes, iCloud will move to Siri's infrastructure. Better late then never. ( Sigh )

    I also write about how Apple is late to the Cloud Infrastructure long time ago, may be even back in 2013. But things hasn't changed much, even with the rumors of so called Project McQueen. Now I think i have a better understanding of why. Apple doesn't compromise, which means all the Datacenter have to be using 100% renewable energy, and they dont build DC in a hurry. They were happy to sit on others Infrastructure for as long as they could unless they have some ridiculous good deal.  The 2nd Reason is the most important one, politics, building one, and holding Data in some countries requires lots of legal and thoughts.   

    Well at least they have their CDN finish and done.

    P.S - I really wish Apple could use FreeBSD on their Server.


    Actually, the team in charge of Siri now report to Craig Federighi, not Eddy.  That move happened this year.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    ksecksec Posts: 1,485member
    ksec said:
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Trust me with Siri's head ( Gates ) , assuming Eddy dont mess it up, it is in good hands. I wrote on this on AI a while ago.


    What that basically means is that Apple now has its own Internal PaaS ( Platform as a Services ). The Platform will ( or hopefully ) evolve independent of the Product running on top of it like Siri, iTunes, etc.

    I wrote that in 2015. I guess it takes two years for Apple management to realize the obvious. At least now we have the confirmation iTunes, iCloud will move to Siri's infrastructure. Better late then never. ( Sigh )

    I also write about how Apple is late to the Cloud Infrastructure long time ago, may be even back in 2013. But things hasn't changed much, even with the rumors of so called Project McQueen. Now I think i have a better understanding of why. Apple doesn't compromise, which means all the Datacenter have to be using 100% renewable energy, and they dont build DC in a hurry. They were happy to sit on others Infrastructure for as long as they could unless they have some ridiculous good deal.  The 2nd Reason is the most important one, politics, building one, and holding Data in some countries requires lots of legal and thoughts.   

    Well at least they have their CDN finish and done.

    P.S - I really wish Apple could use FreeBSD on their Server.


    Actually, the team in charge of Siri now report to Craig Federighi, not Eddy.  That move happened this year.
    Oh yes. I forgotten about that, was wondering there is something wrong. Then It is in VERY good hands. I mean iTunes is still built on WebObject, nothing wrong with it but Apple needs to look forward and move into some better ( more widely available ) backend software.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,781member
    macxpress said:
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    Like he doesn't have enough on his plate already.  I think a better way would be is to make Eddy Cue SVP of Apple Software / Services (Music, Movies, TV, iWork / iLife apps, Pro Apps) and have an SVP of iCloud
    Except Eddy Cue can't get himself out of a wet paper bag when it comes to managing anything at Apple....hence why everything he manages ends up under someone else and then succeeds. 
    Oh sure, yeah that’s why his boss and the entire board keep him on staff and give him multi million dollar bonuses. Because that’s what your boss would do if you were incompetent, right?!

    Nope. Just because you and your online friends like to read rumors and play armchair executive on websites doesn’t mean the things you say are remotely close to factual. You’re a guy on a fan site, about as far removed from the business and reality as you can get. But but but rumors say...!
    pscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,781member

    This has been coming for awhile. Apple has been in the process of building data centers. I think they wanted to move a lot faster in deploying them and perhaps this guy wasn't doing it fast enough. 

    Apple knows its future profits will be in services. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. 
    The profit from services will not be greater than their hardware profit, where they make the vast majority of their money. Just look at Netflix. 
    macplusplus
  • Reply 20 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,781member

    ksec said:
    Oh please let this mean iCloud is being transferred under Craig Federighi.
    What that basically means is that Apple now has its own Internal PaaS ( Platform as a Services ). The Platform will ( or hopefully ) evolve independent of the Product running on top of it like Siri, iTunes, etc.

    I wrote that in 2015. I guess it takes two years for Apple management to realize the obvious. At least now we have the confirmation iTunes, iCloud will move to Siri's infrastructure. Better late then never. ( Sigh )
    Classic armchair executive fallacy — you forget ideas are the easy part, implementation is the hard part. Anybody can say somebody should do a thing. But it takes massive planning and talent to do the thing, especially if we’re talking migrating an entire platform used by millions and millions and millions of people. 
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