Apple Poaches Microsoft Cloud Exec: Report

Apple has hired a high-level Microsoft cloud executive, according to a report. Microsoft confirms the exec has indeed left the company.

Apple has poached a cloud executive from Microsoft, according to reports.

The Green (Low Carbon) Data Center Blog reported April 13 that Apple has hired Kevin Timmons, general manager of Microsoft's Datacenter Services unit. Microsoft confirmed that the executive is moving on, although Apple has not yet returned eWEEK's request for comment.

"Kevin Timmons, general manager of Datacenter Services, has decided to pursue other career opportunities and is no longer working at Microsoft," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an April 15 email to eWEEK. "We appreciate the contributions he made to Microsoft during his time here."

According to Timmons' LinkedIn page, he started work at Microsoft in June 2009, coming from Yahoo, where he spent nearly a decade. Before that, he worked for three years as director of operations for GeoCities, and as a senior software engineer for Marconi Dynamics.

Apple has been looking to expand its presence in the cloud. On April 13, the blog Apple Insider noted the company's job listing for a "Cloud Systems Software Engineer" to help build "the future of cloud services at Apple."

For months, rumors have circulated about what Apple intends to do with the massive data center it spent most of 2010 building in North Carolina. The possibility exists that the company could use that newfound cloud capacity in the next version of its iOS mobile operating system, offering services such as online storage for music and other media.

Unnamed sources recently suggested to TechCrunch that iOS 5, the next iteration of that software, will incorporate substantial cloud elements.

"The new iOS will be heavily built around the cloud, and we could see several new services launch from Apple that take advantage of this," read the March 26 report. "But much of the cloud stuff will be talked about first at WWDC, Apple's developer event which will take place in June."

For months, Microsoft has also touted its "all in" strategy with regard to the cloud. In an April 11 keynote address at the Convergence conference in Atlanta, CEO Steve Ballmer told the audience: "Make no mistake, when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft's all in. ... Every one of our products will be engineered to deliver the full benefits of the cloud."

Much of Microsoft's cloud efforts are focused on businesses. In addition to announcing that the next versions of its ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications will be available on the cloud-based Windows Azure platform, Microsoft also used the conference to offer a glimpse at Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, an ERP application whose beta is due this month. The platform includes Unified Natural Models, a library of business processes for real-world situations, and enhanced business intelligence capabilities for discovering fresh insights in data.

Other Microsoft cloud initiatives in the works include Office 365, which combines Microsoft Office applications, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync into a unified cloud platform. Such offerings will allow Microsoft to expand into new areas beyond its traditional focus on desktop-bound software.