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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:54 AM   #1
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Claims of Apple Putting New Hires to Work on 'Fake' Projects Questioned, Found Unlikely




Just over a year ago, a LinkedIn Q&A session with Inside Apple author Adam Lashinsky generated some attention for an exchange with a former Apple employee in the audience who reported that new Apple hires are sometimes placed on "fake" projects during a probationary period. The audience member's comment was sparked by Lashinsky's discussion of employees being hired into "dummy positions" where they do not know what they will be working on until they start at the company.

Ars Technica has now followed up on those claims of new hires being placed on fake projects and found that the claim is unlikely to be true.
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I spoke to Apple employees from various areas of the company at differing levels, some who are still at Apple and others who have moved on, but all expressed the same sentiment. No one reported any direct experience of being put on a fake project at Apple, and no one knew a friend or colleague at the company who had. A single former employee acknowledged having heard about fake projects--but only from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and the employee was quick to acknowledge that the rumor should be treated with a skeptical eye.
Sources noted that virtually all work at Apple is heavily covered by nondisclosure agreements, meaning that there is little need to resort to putting employees on fake projects as tests of their loyalty.

The report also describes how Apple works to track down suspected sources of leaks, occasionally putting an entire room on lockdown with security personnel working quickly to download data from computers and other devices. Such incidents are said to be rare, but they do leave lasting impressions on employees.

Article Link: Claims of Apple Putting New Hires to Work on 'Fake' Projects Questioned, Found Unlikely
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:56 AM   #2
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I didn't think so. That would be waste of Apple resources. And COOK wouldn't let that happen.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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Not only that, projects are heavily compartmentalized.. different teams are seldom working on overarching themes
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbrhwkp3 View Post
If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.
Lol, imagine pouring your heart and soul into a project to make it truly amazing, staying up late, working early thinking that this project is your chance to shine and show your mark and then find out you were working on a dud.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:04 AM   #6
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So you're telling us that Apple is actually working on fully functional robot with human like AI?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:16 AM   #7
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Actually, rather notably runs multiple competing projects, in the end selecting the best of the bunch and dropping the rest. This could be construed as "fake projects".
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I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market.
Might be more the norm than the exception. is looking for the very best, so it's worth a policy of running many high-cost projects and killing most of them.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:18 AM   #8
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Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Apple. Here's yer tinfoil pyramid hat. I've heard a lot of conspiracy theories before, but this one makes all of those seem plausible.

Even the most sensible (leak prevention) part makes no sense. Why the heck would they hire someone whom they suspect would leak information?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.
Apple (and most other big tech companies) spend $Billions on R&D, with very few of those projects leading directly to products that actually ship. Every company does it, thus it's the default standard policy.

Some of those R&D projects, management knows way ahead of time that they will need to be killed, but they're kept running until a new place is found to utilize talented (and new) employees before they bolt for the competition.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:24 PM   #10
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If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.
Hearbreaking as it is, I imagine this happens all the time.

Remember how excited everyone was about Microsoft Courier?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:27 AM   #11
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COOK wouldn't let that happen.
Is this the new thing that will replace the "Jobs would not let that happen" saying?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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they must be working on a fake of a fake project, so they don't realize they are fake. fakeception. its friday night here, so cheers
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 09:58 AM   #13
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Seems like a waste of time and resources.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:50 AM   #14
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I'd clean the restrooms for a chance to work behind the walls of 1 Cupertino Loop
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 10:56 AM   #15
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Room on lockdown, I question if that is even legal? "Sorry hun, I can't leave work until security lets us out of the room." ?
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:02 AM   #16
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Room on lockdown, I question if that is even legal? "Sorry hun, I can't leave work until security lets us out of the room." ?
Why not legal? They can set up video cameras and record everything you do. And if you don't think businesses do that (and monitor all internet traffic) then you'd be mistaken. It's a condition of employment you don't see buried in the docs you sign when you become an employee.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:10 AM   #17
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It's a condition of employment you don't see buried in the docs you sign when you become an employee.
"Line up, people! We're harvesting your testicles and having them frozen for the Apple Inc. Human Posterity Project. The contracts you signed allows us to do this, so you might as well get it over with now relatively pain free, rather than having us sue the hell out of you for millions of dollars and still end up taking your testicles later".

"...okay".
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:21 AM   #18
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Meanwhile, China leaks out whatever it wants to.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 11:05 AM   #19
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Room on lockdown, I question if that is even legal? "Sorry hun, I can't leave work until security lets us out of the room." ?
Pretty questionable, I'd have thought. Can security effectively detain people without their consent, particularly when there is (as yet) no clear evidence of a crime?

I guess they could always threaten anyone who leaves with being fired for refusing to submit to a security check.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:04 PM   #20
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Pretty questionable, I'd have thought. Can security effectively detain people without their consent, particularly when there is (as yet) no clear evidence of a crime?

I guess they could always threaten anyone who leaves with being fired for refusing to submit to a security check.
A few years ago Apple was in court to get the name of the person who leaked information from a website. The judge told them that they hadn't done enough to question their employees before asking the website. The kind of thing you are talking about was exactly what this judge meant.

And it's quite common in many places that you can be searched randomly, without any suspicion of any crime, for stolen property when you leave from work. Hasn't happened where I work now, but happened at previous places. Refusing to be searched will (a) get you fired and (b) make you a strong suspect, so you will be searched.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:52 PM   #21
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A few years ago Apple was in court to get the name of the person who leaked information from a website. The judge told them that they hadn't done enough to question their employees before asking the website. The kind of thing you are talking about was exactly what this judge meant.

And it's quite common in many places that you can be searched randomly, without any suspicion of any crime, for stolen property when you leave from work. Hasn't happened where I work now, but happened at previous places. Refusing to be searched will (a) get you fired and (b) make you a strong suspect, so you will be searched.
True, but I'm assuming they can't forcibly detain you. 'Merely' threaten to fire you (with a risk of pressing charges) if you don't remain there and consent to being searched.

I do know Apple do have airport-style metal detectors in their plant in Cork, for the employees as they leave and their bags, and the bags could (and often would) be searched as well. I've never seen anyone searched randomly elsewhere in the plant though.

That only really covers material theft, it doesn't cover sending/carrying confidential out; which could only be caught by monitoring network traffic (and there are ways around that) and carrying information out with you (can only really be caught by searches, and too many could be prohibitively invasive).
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:59 PM   #22
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A few years ago Apple was in court to get the name of the person who leaked information from a website. The judge told them that they hadn't done enough to question their employees before asking the website. The kind of thing you are talking about was exactly what this judge meant.

And it's quite common in many places that you can be searched randomly, without any suspicion of any crime, for stolen property when you leave from work. Hasn't happened where I work now, but happened at previous places. Refusing to be searched will (a) get you fired and (b) make you a strong suspect, so you will be searched.
Happens at my employer. Can search any storage device in possession while on property at will. This includes desktops. Of course you agree to this prior to signing your contract.

Apple is peanuts. I've been required to enter Active Millimeter Wave Scanners prior to building access. And no, it was not catching the Red Eye out of LAX.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 12:59 PM   #23
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Pretty questionable, I'd have thought. Can security effectively detain people without their consent, particularly when there is (as yet) no clear evidence of a crime?

I guess they could always threaten anyone who leaves with being fired for refusing to submit to a security check.
They can if they have strong reason to believe you have stolen from them. Such as a store security guy seeing an employee shoplift. You can be detained. Now if they screw up and do a lot of assuming and other bs, then you can have a civil rights/harassment violation case to bring against them.

Basically, they better be darn sure they have strong evidence that a crime has taken place when they choose to detain employees or they can get their tushies handed to them.

You can refuse all random security checks and walk right out the door. If they touch you, get a lawyer because you've got them and can take them to the woodshed. Along with you walking out the door, so likely will be your job at that place, but they cant force you into random checks and I seriously doubt refusal can be construed as evidence of a crime.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 01:35 PM   #24
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They can if they have strong reason to believe you have stolen from them. Such as a store security guy seeing an employee shoplift. You can be detained. Now if they screw up and do a lot of assuming and other bs, then you can have a civil rights/harassment violation case to bring against them.

Basically, they better be darn sure they have strong evidence that a crime has taken place when they choose to detain employees or they can get their tushies handed to them.

You can refuse all random security checks and walk right out the door. If they touch you, get a lawyer because you've got them and can take them to the woodshed. Along with you walking out the door, so likely will be your job at that place, but they cant force you into random checks and I seriously doubt refusal can be construed as evidence of a crime.
That is all largely based on state law. Not all states grant security officers private companies the right to detain people. None of them have arrest powers either. And that power usually ends when you make it out the front door.

In this instance, it appears they're referring to searching company property vs. the individuals themselves. Plus, refusing to a search usually means you lose your job.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 03:09 PM   #25
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Yeah, the fake projects thing never made a lot of sense. Of course, not all projects reach market, and I'm sure many new employees end up on such projects early in their careers. You put your experienced people on the major projects, and let newer folks cut their teeth on weird experimental stuff that ends up going nowhere a lot of the time. Nothing odd about that. Apple is also known for competing teams, as others have pointed out.
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