Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has hired Peter Stern, former executive at Time Warner Cable, as a vice president for its growing cloud business. Mr. Stern will report to Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, according to sources privy to the matter.
The 44-year-old executive left Time Warner Cable earlier this year after it was bought by rival cable company, Charter Communications Inc. He worked at senior strategy and corporate development positions at the company which underwent several takeover attempts in the last couple of years.
Most recently, he was appointed as chief product, people and strategy officer and helped devise a strategy focused on customer service, and aimed at growing the number of cable TV subscribers last year.
Mr. Stern has been a supporter of integrating Web-based services into traditional cable TV. He has been vocal in urging cable companies to offer their TV apps on third-party products and set-top boxes – such as the Apple TV – as opposed to offering propriety cable boxes for customers to lease.
As the iPhone maker continues to focus its efforts on grabbing exclusive contents for its premium branded products and increased subscriptions for its services, it seems the perfect time to bring in someone like Mr. Stern. In the highly competitive music streaming market, Apple Music has reached 17 million subscribers while Apple itself seeks to launch its own exclusive content such as the Planet of the Apps TV show.
Just because Apple is making something of its own doesn’t necessarily mean it wouldn’t want to grab rights to third-party content that it can offer on its products. However, it isn’t clear what Mr. Stern is being brought in for. While his role will generally cover Apple’s cloud services (including Apple Music, iCloud, and iTunes), it is possible that the company is re-aiming at a streaming TV service.
Mr. Cue and Apple have tried in vain to launch a skinny bundle of streaming TV stations in the past. Apparently, Apple had trouble landing TV networks for the strategy, which is where Mr. Stern could be helpful, given his relationship with big media companies and extensive knowledge of the cable industry.
Mr. Stern holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, and has majored in music and English from Harvard University.