Apple hired the Dropcam founder who clashed with Tony Fadell

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Greg Duffy Dropcam

Getty/Brian Ach

Greg Duffy

Apple has hired Greg Duffy, a well-known entrepreneur who previously founded Dropcam and worked at Alphabet company Nest.

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Duffy may be "leading a special project at Apple that is operating like a startup within the company," The Information reported on Wednesday, citing people who know Duffy.

Apple sometimes breaks out teams to focus on work independently. For example, Project Titan, Apple's electric self-driving car project, has been described as functioning as a separate company.

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Duffy made his fortune when Nest, then a part of Google, bought his company Dropcam for $555 million.

But his stint at Nest didn't go smoothly after he butted heads with Tony Fadell (a former high-ranking Apple exec), who he called a "tyrant bureaucrat" before he decided to quit, The Information previously reported.

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It's hard to imagine Duffy fitting into Apple's rigid corporate structure, where even small projects have a designated person in charge.

But his hire could signal that Apple is looking for product visionaries, and giving them the freedom to come up with totally new ideas as the iPhone's growth has stopped.

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