Former Apple Employees on Eddy Cue: Siri and Eddy Were ‘A Bad Fit’ and He is ‘Always Doing Too Many Things’

A new profile on Apple chief Eddy Cue has been shared online today by The Information, highlighting Cue's history and leadership at the company, as well as a few of his more interesting quirks. Specifically, the story looks at Apple's services segment -- which Cue oversees -- and some of the missteps it has taken over the years, despite being a consistent revenue earner for the company.

According to analyst James McQuivey, Apple's services business "has been the biggest opportunity that Apple has misspent for the last ten years." Issues include the company's need to play catchup with Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify in streaming TV and music, fading into irrelevance in the eBooks category, and ongoing struggles with Apple Maps and Siri, the latter of which Cue no longer is responsible for.

Eddy Cue at Re/code's Code Conference in 2014

As he looked into Cue's history with Apple, The Information's Aaron Tilley interviewed more than two dozen people who have worked with Cue. While some describe him "as a leader of intelligence and empathy," others say he "seems overextended" and has "failed to intercede in conflicts." Specifically, one former Apple employee gave an example related to the early days of Apple Music, ultimately claiming that Cue is "always doing too many things."
But others who have worked with him say he seems overextended and, at important moments, has failed to intercede in conflicts—for instance, during the creation of the company’s subscription music service, Apple Music, when former employees of Beats, which Apple acquired, battled with counterparts at iTunes.

“Apple tries to do too much with too few people,” said one former Apple executive, who like most people interviewed for this story requested anonymity to avoid the disfavor of one of the tech industry’s most powerful companies. “That sometimes backfires. Eddy is the best example of that at Apple. He’s always doing too many things.”
According to former employees, Cue "seemed to lack much interest in [Siri]" from "the moment he gained responsibility." During meetings about technical data for Siri's performance, Cue "seemed to fall asleep in at least two meetings." Siri leadership recently moved to Craig Federighi and is now under John Giannandrea.
“Putting Siri under Eddy was a bad fit to begin with,” said one former Siri engineer. “I don’t think he ever had a great deal of interest.”
The profile also looks at Apple's entry into streaming music, following former CEO Steve Jobs' derision of the idea of renting music. Apple reportedly "fought tooth and nail" to keep Spotify out of the United States following its debut in Europe, with Jobs going so far as to privately threaten Universal Music by stating Apple would remove its content from iTunes if it worked with Spotify in the U.S.

Following his death in the fall of 2011, Cue decided that Apple had to shift its music business to streaming somehow, ultimately spearheading the largest acquisition in Apple's history with the purchase of Beats for $3 billion. Following the deal, one former Beats employee who joined Apple told The Information that it eventually became clear that "Apple was under-resourced to manage this."

Moreover, the two companies clashed so much about decisions over how Beats Music would transition into Apple Music, "there were almost literally fistfights over design aspects, features, aesthetics," one person said. "They all hated each other." Amid all of this, Cue's leadership style was put into question:
As tensions mounted on the Apple Music team, Mr. Cue, who was known for his hands-off leadership style, was rarely seen by the team working on the project, said people working on the streaming service. “One downside with Eddy as a manager was that it’s unlikely for Eddy to mediate between warring factions,” said one former lieutenant. “If there were conflicts or tensions between groups, Eddy didn’t get involved.”
Looking ahead, The Information says that Cue's "biggest test yet" will be Apple's streaming TV service. In meetings, Cue is said to have discussed the possibility of making the Apple TV app available beyond Apple's own devices -- even on smart TVs and Android -- in an effort to make sure its shows are seen as widely as possible. This also hints that Apple is considering making the TV app the location of its original TV shows, which has been suggested in the past.

The rest of The Information's profile on Eddy Cue is available to read if you have a subscription.


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Eddy Cue Selling His Gorgeous Vacation Home Near Lake Tahoe for $12 Million

Apple senior executive Eddy Cue, who oversees the company's services and worldwide video programming divisions, is selling his beautiful and luxurious vacation home near Lake Tahoe, according to Realtor.com.

Images: Realtor.com

The report claims Cue recently placed the 7,900-square-foot home, located on a 1.7-acre property within a golf and ski community in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, on the market for $11.9 million. Cue reportedly purchased the land for $1.2 million in 2010, according to property records filed with Nevada County.



Photos of the home and surrounding landscape look equally as gorgeous. Here's how Realtor.com describes the inside:
Completed in 2015, the retreat sits on 1.7 acres and has five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Glass walls line the back of the home, offering mountain views and easy access to patios and decks.

In addition to a living room with fireplace, open kitchen, and dining space, the home includes a rec room with a wet bar, a wine room, and a massive master suite with a sitting area, fireplace, and sliding doors that open to a patio.
The golf and ski community is about a four-hour drive from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, according to Apple Maps, which Cue oversees alongside Siri, iCloud, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and the iTunes Store.


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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue: ‘We’re All In’ on Original Content

Apple iTunes music chief Eddy Cue is at the SXSW conference today, where he sat down for an interview with CNN's Dylan Byers to discuss media, entertainment, and why curation matters.

The major announcement of the event was Apple's pending acquisition of magazine subscription service Texture, which will be integrated into Apple News, but Cue also shared some insight into Apple's original content plans, and much of what he said has been shared on Twitter.

Image via @JohanTrouve

According to Cue, Apple News is a unique service because it isn't focused on advertising, so it's not solely providing the news you want to read - it's also sharing news "you should be reading." Cue says Apple can do that because advertising isn't the focus. "We're not trying to get you to read so we can serve you more ads," he said. "We want to give you a bit of serendipity to see all of what's out there," he added.

On the topic of Apple's content plans, Cue said the company is "all in." "We're completely all in," he said. Apple isn't going to buy a company like Netflix or Disney, though, because the focus is not quantity, it's quality. "You need to have a great story," he said, while also teasing technology that will be a "surprise" to users.

Apple searched for the right people to run an original content team for two years before finding former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. Cue says Apple was after someone who "really knew the business but was also willing to think about it differently." Since hiring Van Amburg and Erlicht last year, Apple has inked deals for more than 10 TV shows, many with high-profile actors, producers, and directors.

"We're making big investments," said Cue. "Money isn't an issue." Apple's original content team has grown to about 40 people over the course of the last year.

When asked about sports, Cue said that Apple wants to "augment the experience" rather than own sports content, doing things like sending out notifications when a game stats to enhance the viewing experience. "We think there's a huge opportunity," he said, referring to making sports watching a more interactive experience.

Cue also shared new details on Apple Music. The subscription service has grown to 38 million subscribers, with more than 8 million people using the trial service.

Cue commented on the HomePod, which went on sale in February. He said Apple is happy with the initial sales of the device, which is the "best musicologist there is." Cue said Apple is "very proud" of the device.

Echoing statements Apple CEO Tim Cook has made several times over the course of the past year, Cue said Apple is "very, very optimistic" that AR is going to be huge. It's going to be a mainstream product that everyone uses every day.

He declined to give specifics on the topic of AR hardware outside of the iPhone, though, citing a desire to continue working at Apple. "I've worked for Apple for almost 30 years and hope to work for Apple for another 20 years, so I'm not going to answer questions on future products," he said.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue Says Apple Will Share Details on its TV Plans in ‘a Little Bit of Time’

Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue today spoke at Variety's 2018 Pollstar Live event in Los Angeles, California, where he discussed Apple Music and the Music Business with Variety Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin.

Cue's talk wasn't streamed live for viewers at home to watch, but several attendees shared Cue's major talking points on Twitter.

Image via Stacey Cohen White

Unsurprisingly, some of the discussion focused on the HomePod, which is officially launching this Friday. According to Cue, the HomePod will use its built-in A8 chip and AI algorithms to automatically adjust the bass, treble, and other settings on a song-by-song basis, so there won't be a need for users to fuss with settings.

In fact, Apple is confident enough in the HomePod's ability to make these adjustments that there are no built-in options to allow users to manually adjust sound.

Cue didn't want to share information about Apple's upcoming original programming plans, despite the fact that the company has inked deals for eight TV shows so far. He did, however, say that we may hear "a lot more" about Apple's plans in "a little bit of time," suggesting Apple will share details on its television goals later this year.

Details are light on the other points that Cue covered in his talk, but should more information surface on what he had to say, we'll update this post.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue Announced as Featured Speaker for SXSW 2018

Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue has been announced as a Featured Speaker for 2018's South By Southwest Conference event. SXSW takes place from March 9-18 in Austin, Texas, and Cue will lead a talk focused on startup companies and the tech sector, accompanied by CNN senior reporter Dylan Byers.

Other speakers include Steve Jobs biography writer Walter Isaacson, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson, Waymo CEO John Krafcik, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and more.

During last year's SXSW conference, Apple Music Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe appeared as a speaker.
“The speakers announced today feature a diverse group of leaders and innovators that make SXSW the foremost destination for creative people,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. "As SXSW celebrates the 25th year of Interactive and Film, the cross-industry talent announced today reflects the ongoing convergence of the modern world, the trends we see throughout our programming, and the paramount reason for our now unified conference experience."
The full schedule of events for this year's SXSW can be found online. Besides keynote speakers discussing a variety of topics, the Austin-based festival includes film screenings, concerts, gaming events, a comedy festival, and more.

At Apple, Cue oversees the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, iCloud, and the iWork and iLife suites of apps. He had previously headed Siri development, but work on Apple's AI assistant shifted to software engineering chief Craig Federighi sometime last year. The move was confirmed by Apple in September.

Tags: Eddy Cue, SXSW

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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue to Participate in Q&A Session at Pollstar Live! 2018 Conference

Apple iTunes Chief Eddy Cue will attend the Pollstar Live! 2018 Conference where he will sit down for a QA session with Variety Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin, Variety reported today.

Cue's official title is vice president of Internet Software and Services, and he oversees both iTunes and Apple Music along with Apple Pay, Maps, iCloud services, Apple's video efforts, and more.
"Eddy Cue and his team at Apple have changed the way we listen to music, played a transformative role in artist discovery, and ignited the passion of music fans," said Ray Waddell, president, Media & Conferences, for Oak View Group, producers of Pollstar Live! "We are thrilled to have him address the attendees at Pollstar Live! and can't wait to hear what he has to say."
Other speakers at Pollstar Live! 2018 include William J. Bratton, Troy Carter, Coolio, Mark Cuban, Marc Geiger, Michael Rapino, Alan Krueger, James E. Meyer, Roger Lynch, and more.

The Q&A session, entitled Apple and the Music Business, will take place on the morning of February 7, 2018 at the InterContinental hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Pollstar Live! is a three day event that starts on February 6.


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Eddy Cue Says He ‘Disagrees Vehemently’ With Those Who Believe Apple’s Pace of Innovation Has Slowed

Just over a decade after the iPhone launched, and six years after Steve Jobs passed, some critics believe that Apple's pace of innovation has slowed. Unsurprisingly, Apple's services chief Eddy Cue doesn't share that opinion.


"I disagree vehemently with that and I think we've been incredibly innovative," said Cue, in a recent interview with Indian publication Livemint.

Cue pointed out that both the iPad and Apple Watch launched after the iPhone, while noting that revolutionary products take time. He also believes that Apple's work on Mac, macOS, and iOS has led the market.
Apple historically has a track record of coming out with industry-defining products, whether it's the Mac or iPhone or iPod. But over the past decade, there's a been perception that the pace of innovation and the pace at which Apple has come out with game-changing, breakthrough products has slowed somewhat. What do you have to say about that?

No way! First of all, the iPhone is 10 years old. That is the last decade. The iPad came after that and the Watch came after that. So, I disagree vehemently with that and I think we’ve been incredibly innovative. That doesn’t even take into account the work that has been done on the Mac, iOS and MacOS, from that standpoint where I think we’ve led the market. When you think of the products that we’ve built over time, you own a lot of them. And you just assume that every year was a new product. But it wasn’t. You can’t do revolutionary new products, every two months or six months or whatever. They take time.
The rest of the interview was primarily focused on Apple's roadmap for India, which Cue described as a "very long-term opportunity."

Cue said Apple is focused on three areas in India, including the App Store, Apple Maps, and a bundle of other services such as iCloud and Apple Music. Of note, he said Apple is "working on" bringing Apple Pay to India.
The digital payments business is widely being seen as the biggest battleground in India now and in the near future. What are Apple's plans on that front?

Our head of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, is here with me. And Apple Pay is something that we definitely want in India. The challenge with payment mechanisms is that there isn't really a lot of global scale. You deal with individual markets at a time … but India is one of those markets where we hope to bring Apple Pay to.
Cue said Apple doesn't have an exact launch date to announce for Apple Pay in India at this point since it's not "a 100 percent" yet.

In the full-length interview, Cue also reflects upon the leadership styles of past and present Apple CEOs Tim Cook and Steve Jobs, and on Apple's increasing efforts to produce original content.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Opening Two Mac Labs in India That Will Teach Students How to Create Music Using Logic Pro X

Apple today announced it will be opening two so-called "Mac Labs" at the KM Music Conservatory's campuses in the Indian cities of Chennai and Mumbai. The labs will teach students how to create music using Logic Pro X.


Apple also said it will fund 10 full time musical scholarships at the learning institution for students from underprivileged backgrounds.


Apple's services chief Eddy Cue traveled to Mumbai this week, where he announced the news in person alongside A.R. Rahman, an Oscar-winning composer, producer, musician, and founder of the KM Music Conservatory.
"It's an honour to be in Mumbai and I am humbled to be in the presence of the talented A.R. Rahman to make this announcement together," said Cue. "Apple Music and the KM Music Conservatory share a deep love in discovering, sharing and nurturing musical talent and we're proud to be supporting such an institution that is investing in the future arts and music community."
The A.R. Rahman Foundation founded the KM Music Conservatory in 2008. The higher education institution offers a range of part-time and full-time courses in Western and Indian classical music and audio technology.


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Tim Cook Rises and Eddy Cue Drops on Vanity Fair’s 2017 New Establishment List

Vanity Fair released its annual New Establishment List this week, which it has described as the top 100 so-called "Silicon Valley hotshots, Hollywood moguls, Wall Street titans, and cultural icons," and two Apple executives made the cut.

Apple CEO Tim Cook rose to third overall, up from 11th in the year-ago list. Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, who recently ceded Siri leadership to software engineering chief Craig Federighi, dropped from 54th to 73rd.

Cook's description:
CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT
With a market cap north of $800 billion, Apple is on track to be a trillion-dollar company.

RARE DISPLAY OF MORTALITY
As consumers reject the new MacBook Pro and Apple arrives late to the game with HomePod, an Echo wannabe, the company is clinging to the iPhone for more than half of its revenue—an inauspicious strategy, since phone sales are predicted to decline.

MORTIFYING TRUMP MOMENT
Cook showed up at Trump Tower in December to kiss the ring, then went to the White House in June to try to convince Trump of the importance of coding in schools.
Cue's description:
CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT
Launching HomePod, Apple's voice-activated virtual assistant. The product, a competitor to Amazon's Echo, may be the new hit Apple so desperately needs as interest in the iPhone wanes.

RARE DISPLAY OF MORTALITY
Planet of the Apps, Apple's foray into original programming under Cue, "feels like something that was developed at a cocktail party," according to one review.
Laurene Powell Jobs, co-founder of educational and philanthropic organization Emerson Collective, rose from 73rd to 44th.

Powell Jobs gained a majority stake in The Atlantic in July, and she's also reportedly investing in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the owner of several Washington D.C. area sports teams. She is the widow of the late Steve Jobs.

Professional wrestler turned actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who starred in an extended Siri ad this year, broke in at 37th.

Vanity Fair's fourth annual New Establishment Summit is underway this week at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. There, so-called "titans" of technology, media, business, entertainment, politics, and the arts discuss issues and innovations shaping the future.


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