OnCue's Huggers leaves Verizon after five months

Erik Huggers, the top executive at OTT cloud initiative OnCue, is leaving the company just five months after Intel sold it to Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

According to Reuters, the former BBC executive told the news organization of his departure Friday. He joined Intel more than two years ago, leading the chip-making giant's quest to build a new pay TV service that would be distributed over-the-top.

A Verizon spokesman confirmed Huggers' exit to Multichannel News, noting, "We obtained a strong combination of technical and personal assets from Intel Media. We intend to strategically utilize the OnCue technology and talent going forward to grow our business. That has not changed."

Reuters reports that Huggers' departure comes as both Intel and Verizon seem to have lost the will to proceed with their OTT plans.

While lauded by many in Silicon Valley as a bold attempt at revolutionizing the TV experience, OnCue was also viewed by some as a distraction from Intel's core chip-making business. And when Brian Krzanich took over as CEO of Intel in May of 2013, he scuttled OnCue's launch.

Huggers moved many of his employees over to Verizon after it purchased the cloud TV platform in January for somewhere between $200 million and $500 million.

Then came word of his departure.

"There were no conflicts at all," Huggers said to Reuters. "The technology is great, the team is great, the future is secure, the dream lives on. It's time to hand the baby to someone else."

Reuters quoted an anonymous Verizon source as saying that Verizon is also "moving away from its OTT strategy." This, despite the fact that its pay-TV rivals--including the newly engaged AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV)--are charging headlong into OTT initiatives. 

For more:
- read this Reuters story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links:
Verizon: Intel OnCue acquisition will power new OTT video service, next-gen FiOS TV product
Verizon and OnCue: Fuel for FiOS and wireless

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