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iCloud team reportedly plagued by infighting as Apple struggles to build new cloud infrastructure

Apple is working on a new internal structure for its cloud services, but the teams under the umbrella of iCloud have been involved in a political power struggle that has hampered development, according to a new report.


Apple's data center in Maiden, NC.


Citing unnamed sources, The Information reported on Thursday that "at least one key employee" has left Apple's cloud services teams, and more departures are expected soon. That's because the engineers who oversee services like iTunes and Siri have been engaged in what was referred to as a "political quagmire."

Specifically, the Siri team, run by Patrick Gates, is said to have been at odds with the team that oversees iCloud, overseen by Eric Billingsley. That's because Apple has decided to extend the Siri cloud computing platform to include services under the iCloud team's banner, like iTunes and iMessage.
"Project McQueen" is Apple's effort to bring its cloud services in-house.
In short, the transition has made some at Apple feel uneasy about job security, particularly at Billingsley's iCloud team. That's led to meetings where the two sides have reportedly engaged in open arguments, with each side claiming to do their respective tasks better than the other.

The fighting apparently led to the departure of a key engineering manager who joined Apple through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. And there are now said to be concerns that another member of the Siri team could be on their way out.

Apple is currently working to bring its iCloud infrastructure in-house. It's been said that the move was at least partially predicated by security concerns, amidst an ongoing encryption debate with the U.S. government.

Known as "Project McQueen," the effort has Apple looking to wean off of third-party cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in favor of its own, proprietary infrastructure. Apple reportedly expects the investment to pay for itself within three years of going live.

In February, Apple revealed it services more than 782 million iCloud accounts worldwide.