Apple is planning to expand its data centre infrastructure and has poached a leading Microsoft executive to help it achieve this aim, according to reports.

According to the Data Center Knowledge website, Kevin Timmons - previously Microsoft's general manager of Datacenter Services - will take up a leadership position at Apple in the coming weeks.

Microsoft has confirmed Timmons' departure from the company, saying he "has decided to pursue other career opportunities and is no longer working at Microsoft".

Microsoft did not specifically mention what these "career opportunities" entailed. But Dave Ohara, who has worked in data centres at Apple and Microsoft, stated that Timmons was going to move to Microsoft.

However, Ohara said that Timmons was not going to replace the late Oliver Sanche, who was Apple's top data centre executive but passed away suddenly last year.

Though it is unclear what position Timmons will take at Apple if the reports are correct, speculation about Apple's cloud computing plans is already in full swing. Last week Macworld reported that Apple had bought up 12 petabytes of storage from Isilon Systems.

According to an insider at Isilon, Apple plans to use this storage space to manage the video downloads of its iTunes customers. This is not the first time that Apple's ambitions to move into the video-streaming space have been rumoured - last month a Morgan Stanley analyst claimed that the company was working on a Smart TV prototype.

Data Center Knowledge also points out that Apple is planning to build more data centres in Europe and the US. Timmons has experience of building data centres in Chicago and Dublin for Microsoft, reportedly delivering the projects on time and on budget.