Apple’s engineers are defecting to Meta — and Apple is willing to pay handsomely to stem the bleeding.

The two technology companies are in the midst of harsh competition for talent as both firms seek to roll out similar offerings — such as augmented reality headsets and smartwatches — in the coming years.

Bloomberg reported:

The bonuses, which came as a surprise to those who received them, have ranged from about $50,000 to as much as $180,000 in some cases. Many of the engineers received amounts of roughly $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000 in shares, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the program isn’t public. The perk was presented by managers as a reward for high performers…

The payouts aren’t part of normal Apple compensation packages, which include a base salary, stock units and a cash bonus. Apple sometimes awards additional cash bonuses to employees, but the size of the latest stock grants were atypical and surprisingly timed, the people said. They were given to about 10% to 20% of engineers in applicable divisions.

In October, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would change its name to Meta — reflecting its new emphasis on “metaverse” initiatives.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity as we begin this next chapter. Facebook is one of the most used products in the history of the world,” Zuckerberg said, according to CNN. “It is an iconic social media brand, but increasingly it just doesn’t encompass everything that we do.

“Today we’re seen as a social media company,” he added, “but in our DNA, we are a company that builds technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started.”

“I know that some people will say that this isn’t a time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present. There always will be,” Zuckerberg said. “So for many people, I’m just not sure there ever will be a good time to focus on the future. But I also know that there are a lot of you who feel the same way that I do.”

Meanwhile, Apple is developing technology to assist in perceiving cognitive decline and depression — a move that raises concerns about data privacy. Through sensor data that includes mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior, and more, researchers hope to create signals associated with target conditions.

In August, Apple promised that its new system to scan iCloud photo rolls for child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) would never be used for political purposes. The company sought to dismiss worries that governments could add non-CSAM images to its hash list.

“No matter how well-intentioned, Apple is rolling out mass surveillance to the entire world with this,” National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden said in response. “Make no mistake: if they can scan for kiddie porn today, they can scan for anything tomorrow.”

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