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Apple searching for senior executives with cloud expertise

Apple is actively seeking senior-level executives to help the company build new apps and products to take full advantage of the cloud, a new report claims.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has recently been looking for new leadership with backgrounds in "Web-based software." Sources also said that the Cupertino, Calif., company had approached one "prominent Internet entrepreneur" about a position, while also turning to recruiters for help with the hunt.

Apple is reportedly interested in building "new apps that leverage the Web" and eliminate the need to carry multiple devices. "The company doesn't have specific Web-centric positions in mind, and it is looking broadly for talent to fill director-level positions and above, including senior executives if they find a candidate that is a good fit," the report noted a source as saying.

Since 2010, Apple has been bulking up its ranks with lower-level Web talent, hiring "dozens of engineers" with Web software backgrounds. Employee profiles on LinkedIn show that Apple has brought on former employees from companies like Yahoo and Web-based analytics service Quantcast, report author Jessica E. Vascellaro noted.

Sources said that, traditionally, successful Internet engineers have landed jobs at Google or Facebook, companies known for their emphasis on Web services, rather than Apple. However, Apple is believed to be leaning more heavily on recruiters in order to counteract the issue.

Currently, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue heads up the company's Internet Software & Services business, which includes iTunes, the App Store, the iBookstore, iAd and iCloud. Apple revealed Cue's recent promotion in early September, filling an open vacancy from when the company's vice president of mobile advertising left the company in August.

iCloud, Apple's latest cloud initiative went live last month. The new service is meant to have a broader reach than the previous MobileMe, which was plagued with a shaky start.

Though still in its early days, iCloud has attracted the attention of investors. Investment bank Barclays said earlier this month that it believes iCloud to be "Apple's most important new service since the launch of iTunes in 2003.

"We believe Tim Cook clearly understands how important iCloud is to Apple’s future," analyst Ben Reitzes said. "We agree with Tim Cook – iCloud is profound. It basically makes the cloud the digital hub - not the Mac or PC."

Reitzes went on to call iCloud a "sneaky" product launch for the company, predicting that the service would lead to "devices we haven't thought of yet." Some industry watchers view iCloud as the foundation for a long-rumored Apple television set.

In addition to Apple's hunt for senior-level executives familiar with cloud services, the company has another hole to fill in its management team. Ron Johnson, the company's head of retail operations, left at the start of November to take over as CEO of retailer J.C. Penney. Johnson spent 11 years as the company's senior vice president of retail and was instrumental in building its retail division into a world-class operation. Apple has said it is "actively recruiting" for his replacement, with some reports suggesting that the company brought on an executive search firm to extend the search overseas.