updated 10:05 pm EST, Tue November 22, 2011
Apple pushing deeper into web with senior recruits
Apple is on a hiring spree to get "senior-level" officials for a bigger push into web apps, insiders reportedly divulged Tuesday night. It has been hiring generally hard to get managers, the Wall Street Journal heard, and might put them in upper echelons if they're a match with Apple's corporate culture. The company is said to have been aggressive, including chasing a "prominent Internet entrepreneur" this year.
While vague on goals, the tip had Apple planning to make more apps that minimize the need to "carry around numerous devices." Its iCloud service currently lets users check mail, calendars, contacts, and a few other basics along with the built-in backup and media sharing features. What Apple would do beyond this isn't apparent, although Apple doesn't let users play songs or videos directly from the web like on Google Music or some other rival services.
Apple had already been mounting its efforts from 2010 on, when iCloud was still in development. It had lured engineers away from Yahoo, Quantcast, and other usually Bay Area-based companies. Aiming at senior staff, however, hints at an attempt to shift Apple's larger direction, not just its implementation.
The company has historically been shy on cloud services until this year. MobileMe, first unveiled in 2008, was based on a traditional model of a paid host focusing on only basic syncs and leaving most media to manual uploads. Its reputation for secrecy and an insistence on complete control may have also hurt it on the web even as they helped on devices, since it was reluctant to share details or rely on others' services. This distrust may well have been compounded by the late Steve Jobs' view that Android was inherently stolen and the sense of betrayal felt after Google helped with web services, only to create a competing mobile OS.
Google has had an advantage in the cloud through its experience on the web, since it was familiar with web apps, cloud services, and scaling. Single sign-on access had been available in Android from its 2008 debut, and newer Android builds have for some time had ways to recover information in a form similar to, though not as complete as, iCloud backups.