Apple 22-Year Veteran Cue Steers Company Into Post-PC Era Jobs Envisioned
Steve Jobs’s vision of a post-PC era of Web-based applications is being left to Eddy Cue, the 22-year Apple Inc. (AAPL) veteran responsible for building the iTunes platform and cultivating the planned iCloud file-sharing service.
Cue, who had been vice president of the Cupertino, California-based company’s Internet services business, was promoted by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook in September to senior vice president. The promotion expanded Cue’s oversight of the App Store, which sells downloadable software for iPads and iPhones, as well as the iAd mobile-ad business that competes with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s AdMob.
In his earlier roles in building iTunes music, movie and TV service, Cue handled negotiations with Hollywood studios and record companies. A gregarious man known for an easy sense of humor, Cue often has done most of the negotiations, with Jobs coming in to close when necessary, according to Tim Bajarin, founder of Campbell, California-based consulting firm Creative Strategies Inc.
“He’s a key guy,” Bajarin said. “But if you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t think so” upon meeting him, he said.
The promotion reflected his role in building iTunes and the App Store, and it puts him on the same level as such Apple executives as design head Jonathan Ive and iPhone software chief Scott Forstall.
“Apple is a company and culture unlike any other in the world and leaders like Eddy get that,” Cook wrote in the memo announcing the promotion. “Apple is in their blood.”
Cue was a manager in Apple’s customer support unit in 1997 when Jobs returned to the company after an ouster more than a decade earlier. Jobs put Cue in charge of one of his first efforts: to build an online store. The success of the store helped Apple sell directly to customers rather than through a less efficient network of dealers and third-party retailers.
Cue later helped develop the initial iTunes store as well as the processes that would make purchasing songs or downloading apps simple and secure. One of the recent steps in the company’s evolution is iCloud, which will let users access content across multiple Apple devices without having to physically transfer files from hard drive to hard drive.
Jobs proclaimed in June that iCloud would become the hub of digital life and “demote the PC and the Mac to be just another device.”
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