Apple encourages some employees to work on side projects

By on November 13, 2012, 10:00 AM

Apple is launching a new initiative at the company’s offices that encourages a select group of employees to devote a portion of their time to personal projects, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The move is intended to spawn innovation but apparently it’s also a measure to keep employees from jumping ship, addressing long-standing gripes about lack of flexibility and ignored standard Silicon Valley perks.

Dubbed “Blue Sky”, the initiative is said to be a more limited version of similar programs among tech companies for spawning new ideas -- the most famous of which is Google’s “20% time” philosophy that allows engineers to spend one day a week working on projects outside their normal responsibilities.

The status of Blue Sky is unclear. Scott Forstall, Apple’s former head of iOS software was involved in the program, but left the company in a recent executive shakeup. Some people inside the company say it’s more of a symbolic move that hasn’t really resulted in big changes.

Still, the move is seen as a cultural shift for Apple, which traditionally works on a few focused projects that come from the top. The WSJ notes that this isn’t the first “employee-friendly” change under Tim Cook’s helm -- the company has also implemented new employee discounts on Apple products, started a charitable matching program, and is more aggressive about giving counteroffers to some employees thinking of leaving.

User Comments: 9

Got something to say? Post a comment
1 person liked this | Camikazi said:

Are they planning on patenting this and suing other companies that have been doing this for years? :P

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

Running out of ideas without Stevie

Guest said:

Apple's fine print in their employment contract. ALL thoughts, Ideas, Inventions, belong to Apple 5 years after being terminated or resigning from the company. Your our Ihuman.

Tygerstrike said:

@ Guest

Believe it or not, but thats pretty much standard in any electronics company. Best Buy has a 2 year limit. These companies feel that if you work in their building any idea you come up with is thiers because it was inspired by working for said company. That can even include projects or inventions that you may have started or created even before you were hired. Heres a tip: Have a family member you trust "create" the invention. Normally those contracts only hold the individual worker to the limit, not family members.

Guest said:

Running out gas

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Running out of ideas without Stevie

I second to that

Guest said:

So, let's see; Microsoft wants to become more like Apple, Apple wants to become more like Google and Google is leading the way???

avoidz avoidz said:

If you thought of it, Apple will see you in court.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.