updated 03:52 pm EDT, Tue July 17, 2012
Firm at work on gesture-based command system for Macs
Andy Miller, the former head of Apple's iAd division, has now taken a job as the president and COO of Leap Motion, Fortune says. Miller actually left Apple last August, becoming a general partner at a firm called Highland Capital Partners. The move to Leap Motion will bring him back into the Mac world, since Leap is currently developing a gesture-based control system for Macs, similar in concept to Microsoft's Kinect technology.
Another partner at Highland, Peter Bell, explains that Miller had already been spending "around 80%" his time at Leap during the past few months anyway, and discussed the idea of going full-time with him. "We talked about it a lot, and think it's the right move for Andy, the company and Highland. This is one of those companies that really feels different, and having Andy there makes us feel even better about it," says Bell. Leap is one of the businesses in Highland's portfolio.
Miller's departure from the venture capital firm could deal it a serious blow, since it had reportedly been searching for a partner could raise its profile in Silicon Valley. Miller will however continue to represent Highland on some boards, and is expected to funnel some deals back. Highland has also taken recent steps such hiring Manish Patel away from Google; Bell comments that there aren't any plans to hire someone as Miller's replacement.
Before joining Apple, Miller was the head and co-founder of mobile marketer Quattro Wireless. That business was bought out by Apple in a deal worth $275 million, eventually transforming it into the iAd division. iAd has since struggled to maintain relevance in the advertising world; marketers have complained about problems like high entry costs, strict rules, and heavy-handed involvement from Apple. The network is also exclusive to iOS, whereas options like AdMob are cross-platform.