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Apple hires former Time Warner Cable executive for cloud services push

In continuing efforts to build out a strong presence in the crowded cloud services business, Apple recently took on former Time Warner Cable executive Peter Stern to work on subscription-based products including Apple Music.

Stern's hire, uncovered by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by an Apple spokesman, could help Apple disrupt a deeply entrenched cable television industry.

While at Time Warner Cable, Stern served as chief product, people and strategy officer, assisting the cable giant grow subscribers after years of losses. More importantly, at industry conferences the executive often argued that companies should shift from leasing proprietary set-top boxes to offering their content through apps on a variety of platforms, the report said.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Apple has for years pushed to dislodge cable providers from traditional subscription services to a more dynamic on-demand, app-based product powered by Apple TV, but to no great effect.

In addition to sharing like-minded views on content distribution, Stern was part of a cadre of Time Warner Cable executives who talked with Apple over a potential Apple TV television service, the report said. While the project was ultimately put on ice, it seems Apple found a powerful ally in Stern. The executive has extensive experience in cable industry economics and relationships with major media companies, the report said.

After assisting Time Warner Cable during multiple takeover attempts, Stern departed from the company shortly after it was bought out by Charter Communications earlier this year.

At Apple, Stern will report to SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, though whether Stern will be in a position to reboot the company's over-the-top cable efforts is not clear. According to the WSJ, Stern's VP role covers general cloud services, a growing department at Apple that now includes iTunes, iCloud and Apple Music, among other services.