Apple is paying out considerable bonuses to software engineers and other specialists who might be targets for poaching by Meta (formerly Facebook) and other companies.
According to Bloomberg, which broke the story, these “unusual and significant stock bonuses” are worth anywhere from $50,000 to $180,000, and will vest over a four-year period (provided employees stay at the company, of course). Engineers in a variety of disciplines, including silicon design and hardware, have received the bonuses, which apparently came as a total surprise to most.
Bloomberg also reported that Meta has poached around 100 engineers from Apple over the past few months, although Apple has also managed to lure some specialists away from its growing rival. Meta has made no secret of its plans to dominate a “metaverse” of virtual- and augmented-reality devices, while multiple reports suggest Apple is hard at work on an augmented reality headset that could hit the market as early as next year.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman previously suggested that the first iteration of an Apple AR headset will be quite expensive, and the company will likely unveil it months before an actual release so that developers can spend time building apps and services for it. “Apple’s first headset will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses,” he wrote. “The company will likely need to work with governments globally on possible prescription lenses and partner with a bevy of manufacturers on complex technologies that neither side has shipped before.” (Hat tip to 9to5Mac for the link to Gurman’s newsletter.)
All of Apple’s upcoming projects—from future iterations of the iPhone to the long-rumored car—will demand hundreds of technology specialists, from machine-learning experts to hardware designers. That kind of talent is hard to quickly source, which is no doubt why Apple has decided on these huge stock payouts. But will these bonuses actually keep employees in place, especially amidst the Great Resignation?