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New Apple Smart Home Business Leader Jadallah Has Channel Cred

Apple has hired Sam Jadallah, formerly the longtime channel chief at Microsoft, to head up its smart home efforts.

Former Microsoft channel chief Sam Jadallah has joined Apple to drive the company's push into the smart home space.

Jadallah’s LinkedIn page shows that he started working at Apple as of this month, describing his role as "Working on Home” at Apple.

[Related: Apple's HomePod Is Not The Smartest Of The Smart Speakers]

Jadallah will be heading up Apple's home business, CNBC reported, which includes the company’s HomeKit smart home software and the Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker.

Jadallah was one of the most popular of Microsoft’s channel chiefs, always leveraging his blue collar work ethic to establish deep and long-lasting relationships with partners.

Jadallah, in fact, who worked at Microsoft for 12 years before leaving in 1999, held the channel chief job at Microsoft for nearly a decade throughout the 1990s. That is one of the longest tenures for any Microsoft channel chief.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 115 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500, said the channel is sure to benefit from the strong channel and technology expertise Jadallah brings to Apple.

"Apple always picks the cream of the crop," said Venero. "I definitely see the potential for Sam to help bring partners into the home integration, small office/home office [SOHO] and even small-business market with Apple."

Many solution providers have home automation practices, said Venero. In fact, he said, Future Tech is looking at providing a home automation solutions business aimed at the C-suite executives of its Fortune 1000 customers.

"A lot of the executives we work with would like us to work with them to make their home offices as technologically advanced as their work spaces," said Venero.

Venero said he sees the hiring of Jadallah as an opportunity for Apple to continue to up its channel game. "We are seeing Apple enhance their partner program," he said. "We see Sam coming on as another move that the channel can benefit from. Our message to Sam is: Listen to your partners who have the ability to help make the smart home endeavor more successful. Work together with us rather than alone to make Apple better."

Apple has the potential to bring its home automation services past the Apple TV to more HomePod components, and back into its devices and wearables, said one executive at a solution provider partner of Apple, who asked to not be identified.

"I know at CES, they announced more HomeKit partners, so Sam could possibly assist to drive that further on the hardware and partner side of things," the solution provider executive said.

Meanwhile, HomePod lags well behind devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home in the smart speaker market. HomePod saw market share of just 4.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the hiring of Jadallah.

Most recently, Jadallah founded and ran Otto, maker of a connected smart lock. Otto, which had reportedly poached a number of staff members from Apple, suspended its operations as of December 2017.

Other roles for Jadallah since leaving Microsoft have included serving as a general partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mohr Davidow Ventures.

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