Eddy Cue, asleep at the switch

From Inside the World of Eddy Cue, Apple’s Services Chief in The Information ($)

It is easy for Apple employees to tell when they have lost the attention of Eddy Cue, the leader of the company’s sprawling internet initiatives—from its music and video businesses to its maps service.

During meetings, Mr. Cue is sometimes known to fall silent, shut his eyes and tilt his head back, leaving other participants to wonder whether he is staring at the ceiling or sleeping, said several former Apple employees and one outside partner present on multiple occasions when it happened over the past few years. In at least two of these situations, Mr. Cue began snoring, one source said…

In interviews with more than two dozen people who have worked with him, Mr. Cue is described as a leader of intelligence and empathy, with a loyal following at Apple. 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.”

My take: Pretty much as I suspected. Cue may epitomize the soft underbelly of Apple’s middle management, but he is not the only SVP with too much on his plate.

12 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:

    Cue may epitomize the soft underbelly of Apple’s middle management,

    You can’t have it both ways. Cook is a genius, the best person for the job and his lieutenants are not up to the job.

    In my estimation, Cook does not suffer incompetence in the slightest (Scott Forestall and John Browett come to mind). Just because we, as outsiders, can’t see what Cue is doing doesn’t translate to incompetence.

    Eddy Cue, the leader of the company’s sprawling internet initiatives—from its music and video businesses to its maps service.

    That Services is growing at an extended (4) year 30+% average compound rate is all I need to know about his effectiveness.

    2
    September 5, 2018
  2. John Konopka said:

    The argument is that he, and others, have too many responsibilities and that things would be better if they could delegate more.

    0
    September 5, 2018
  3. Kathy Corby said:

    Eddie, if you read PED, and I hope you do, please be evaluated for sleep apnea, the commonest cause of daytime somnolence– far more common than overwork. (From a long time investor and Stanford trained doc….)

    1
    September 5, 2018
  4. Fred Stein said:

    None of should judge another, period. And none us really know what is going on in Apple, Siri and Maps lost ground under Cue. We don’t see much of Cue lately.

    By contrast, Craig Federighi took over Siri. Very quickly it transitioned to a new hire dedicated to AI and reporting to Tim Cook. Just my guess, Craig quickly figured out how important AI / Siri are and the fact that he could not do AI justice and keep the rest of the software trains on time. Note also, all those XYZKits that help drive services revenue, come from Mr. Hair.

    1
    September 5, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      By contrast, Craig Federighi took over Siri. Very quickly it transitioned to a new hire dedicated to AI and reporting to Tim Cook.

      Apple has a ton more initiatives going on right now than it did even 5 years ago. A management “shake up” like we just saw happens at the top after discussions with senior management on what was needed (human resources) to advance those initiatives.

      Apple Movies doesn’t look like much right now because we haven’t seen the first iteration of the product, but the amount of work going on in the background has to be enormous, hence the realignment of responsibilities.

      That management recognized the need for a realignment of responsibilities, and the need for additional human resources, speaks very well of senior management (including Cue) in my opinion, especially since management didn’t through additional bodies at a project until absolutely needed.

      1
      September 5, 2018
  5. Richard Wanderman said:

    I agree with PED and I think iTunes and iBooks are both examples of software that’s in Cue’s wheelhouse that needs serious work and has for years. We keep hearing that things are about to get better but it hasn’t happened in a long time.

    Granted, Cue’s area isn’t the only part of the MacOS that has issues with integration, but it’s an extremely important one.

    Then there’s Apple’s streaming streaming video initiative… to me, it sounds like a lot of money wasted on questionable content (at this point).

    0
    September 5, 2018

Leave a Reply