Apple and Meta wage war over XR skilled workers - report
Apples is losing XR professionals to Meta. Now the company is taking an unusual measure to stop the exodus.
Bloomberg reports that about a hundred Apple employees have moved to Meta in recent months. These are engineers in areas such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and software and hardware development.
Meta is considered the most aggressive investor in virtual and augmented reality. Its self-declared goal is to bring one billion people into the so-called Metaverse by the end of the decade. This year alone, Meta has spent ten billion US dollars on research and development, and according to Mark Zuckerberg, investments are set to increase in the years to come.
Around 10,000 professionals work at Reality Labs, Meta's VR and AR division. Meta plans to hire another 10,000 in Europe over the next five years. These numbers show how serious Meta is about the Metaverse.
Meta and Apple collide in 2022
Apple also has big ambitions in the VR and AR space, even though the company has yet to launch any hardware and related projects are shrouded in secrecy.
Numerous patents and leaks in recent years prove that Apple is working on VR and AR glasses. According to insider reports, the company wants to present a first device of the XR category in 2022: a VR headset with video-based Mixed Reality.
With Meta set to launch a similar device codenamed Cambria next year, and reportedly a smartwatch as well, Apple and Meta could be competing in hardware for the first time in 2022.
Big bonuses for Apple employees
Meta offers employees a higher base salary and more flexible working conditions than Apple, which is part of the reason for the brain drain towards Meta.
Now Apple counters with an unusual measure: According to the Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, about 10 to 20 percent of the professionals in relevant areas would have received lavish share packages. These are to be transferred to the employees over four years and are worth between 50,000 and 180,000 US dollars.
Apple sometimes gives out additional cash bonuses, but the size and timing are atypical and come at a surprising time, Gurman's sources say. Some of the higher amounts would be equivalent to those paid to managers, he said. Apple did not comment on the report.
The poaching of skilled workers goes both ways. Gurman recently reported that Meta's longtime XR PR chief Andrea Schubert has joined Apple. She's expected to help craft the promotional message for Apple's upcoming VR and AR products.