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In brief: In a move that may seem surprising to some, Apple has gone on a hunt for talent to aid in its cloud efforts. Judging by its choices, the company may be planning to compete with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.
Apple may be a devices and services company, but that doesn't mean it isn't looking to explore other areas of computing like augmented reality, and, as of late, cloud computing.
The Cupertino company does have a range of services that taken together can be described as a cloud-based platform - namely iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and the App Store. However, Apple hasn't made it a top priority to build a vast cloud infrastructure to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Netflix.
In December 2018, Apple joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and said it would invest $10 billion in US data center construction. According to a report from Protocol, the company has gone on a "cloud computing hiring spree" as of late, which looks like it's related to the multi-year data center project.
Apple may be looking to play catch-up with the cloud giants, as it has also snapped up several key engineers that have previously worked at Amazon Web Services, Google, and Docker. Among them are Michael Crosby - who is a renowned ex-Docker engineer, Arun Gupta and Maksym Pavlenko from AWS, and Francesc Campoy, an ex-Googler who will be working on Kubernetes at Apple.
The news comes as some have described Apple's Information Systems and Technology group as a "Game of Thrones nightmare," with engineering teams constantly being hamstrung by work on fixing internal software.
For Apple, it's no longer as important to break sales records with its devices. As its focus has shifted on subscription services that monetize a huge global audience, it makes perfect sense to bolster the infrastructure that is used to deliver these services.