Facebook reportedly hiring former Apple iPhone engineers for phone project

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Facebook is drawing upon former Apple engineers who worked on the iPhone and the iPad to develop its own phone, according to a new report.

The New York Times claimed on Sunday that the social networking service has hired "more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone," as well as one engineer that worked on the iPad. The publication cited current Facebook employees who spoke off the record, as well as people who were "briefed" on the company's plans.

One tipster suggested that the current effort is the company's third attempt to build a smartphone. People who reportedly worked on the first attempt told the Times that the project fell apart because it proved to be more difficult than expected. As a result, Facebook is believed to have realized that it needs industry-experienced veterans to develop hardware, specifically Apple alumni.

However, the company may not be content to just develop a phone in-house, as reports have suggested that it is partnering up with Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC on a phone as well. A recent rumor from the sometimes-accurate DigiTimes claimed that an HTC/Facebook smartphone could arrive as early as the third quarter of this year.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has reportedly taken a direct interest in the project.

"One engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he had met with [Zuckerberg], ? who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones," the report said.

The executive was allegedly interested in "intricate details," such as which kinds of chips were used. Facebook is believed to be "going door-to-door" as it recruits for the project in order to maintain secrecy.

A Facebook employee indicated that Zuckerberg is "worried" that, without a phone, Facebook could be relegated to simply being an app. In fact, Facebook currently has three apps on the iPhone. The company released a camera app last week that resembles the Instagram service that it recently purchased for $1 billion.

Facebook


When contacted by journalist Nick Bilton, the company simply reiterated a previous statement that it is "working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.?

Sunday's report also noted that Facebook could resort to buying a smartphone company. It raised $16 billion during its recent IPO, enough to purchase either Research in Motion or HTC. It's not unheard of for a software company to buy into hardware, as rival Google recently completed its $12.5 billion purchase of handset maker Motorola Mobility.

Despite the fact that Facebook is tapping former iPhone engineers for its own project, the Times suggested that the resulting device would not "necessarily" compete directly with Apple. Since Facebook sells advertising, a smartphone from the company could challenge Google and its Android mobile OS, which operates as a vehicle for Google's advertising efforts.

One area of concern for Facebook could be the close integration that Apple's iOS has with rival social networking service Twitter. With the release of iOS 5, Apple introduced embedded Twitter functionality at a system-wide level. Though there have been hints that Apple could do the same with Facebook, the two companies haven't always been on the best of terms. For instance, Apple failed to reach an agreement with Facebook to allow users to connect its Ping social music service with their Facebook accounts.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,248member


    Anything they do to become closer to bankruptcy, be it idiotic decisions like this or through users' diminishing interest in social networking, is completely fine by me.

  • Reply 2 of 76
    woodlinkwoodlink Posts: 198member


    Facebook's big problem is that social networking sites have become ubiquitous to the internet.


     


    Much like the white/yellow pages (the original social network) people have come to expect that "it simply exists".


     


    Not sure how Zuckerberg overcomes the perception of Facebook as just another part of the internet....not sure how they create revenue from mobile.

  • Reply 3 of 76
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    Anything they do to become closer to bankruptcy, be it idiotic decisions like this or through users' diminishing interest in social networking, is completely fine by me.

    Huh? Facebook made $1B last year in profit, more "bankrupt" companies should be so lucky
  • Reply 4 of 76
    woodlinkwoodlink Posts: 198member


    Oh, and Zuckerberg's recent quote about Facebook existing to only "make the world more open and connected" is perhaps the biggest pile of crap ever.


     


    He is NOT that altruistic.


     


    Neither are his new shareholders.


     


    He is so full of it.

  • Reply 5 of 76
    woodlinkwoodlink Posts: 198member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post





    Huh? Facebook made $1B last year in profit, more "bankrupt" companies should be so lucky


     


    Tallest didn't say Facebook was bankrupt...he only wished it upon them.

  • Reply 6 of 76
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,248member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

    Huh? Facebook made $1B last year in profit, more "bankrupt" companies should be so lucky


     


    And what happens when there's nowhere else to grow? They have to spread their dirty tentacles elsewhere to keep that stream up. And that's where companies go awry. Not that Facebook hasn't already, what with the way they treat their users.

  • Reply 7 of 76
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,558member
    Who would want to buy a Facebook phone?! Does not compute.
  • Reply 8 of 76
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,583member


    I'm thinking the shareholders won't be liking this news all that much.

  • Reply 9 of 76
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    React defensively instead of innovating creatively? Might work, I suppose...

  • Reply 10 of 76
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,248member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

    I'm thinking the shareholders won't be liking this news all that much.


     


    A few days ago I heard there might be an investigation or something into how poorly the stock is doing.


     


    I mean, it's a new stock, so you have to give it some time, but really? It's doing that poorly already?

  • Reply 11 of 76
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    Is it so hard to understand that FB sees itself as a new OS? Of course they want their own phone. And on their phone FaceBook won't be an app. Apps will run in Facebook. You'll make calls in Facebook. Your friends are your contacts. You'll take photos IN Facebook. Your photo stream will be Facebook. Your music will be IN Facebook. Of course they want their own phone. And they'll probably give it away.

    By the way, THAT'S how you make money in mobile. Control all the info, give away the hardware. Drop in ads as "features" throughout. Is it genius? No, it's obvious, really. It's what they have to become to be successful long term.

    I'd say they better get cracking. I give them less than a year to make this work. Otherwise all inertia will be working against them. If they fail, I see Apple buying them for a song - maybe - in 2014 or 2015.
  • Reply 12 of 76
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    And what happens when there's nowhere else to grow? They have to spread their dirty tentacles elsewhere to keep that stream up. And that's where companies go awry. Not that Facebook hasn't already, what with the way they treat their users.



     


    Facebook Account, I have not.


     


    Strong is the Dark Side in them, I sense.


     


    dog-yoda-halloween-costume.jpg

  • Reply 13 of 76


    too little too late.


     


    I predict epic fail.


     


    Mimicking Google's failed attempt at ubiquity via social engineering won't lead to any success.


     


    Imagine a phone that tracks your every text and voice message as a post on facespook.  Stupid.


     


    F

     

  • Reply 14 of 76
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Anything they do to become closer to bankruptcy, be it idiotic decisions like this or through users' diminishing interest in social networking, is completely fine by me.



     


    And since Apple's iPhone has been an abject failure (just ask any of the Android trolls who reside here) why would Facebook want to hire the engineers of a failed product anyway? image

  • Reply 15 of 76
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member


    "Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, has reportedly taken a direct interest in the project."


     


    Sure it's unfair and probably wrong, but when I read this I couldn't help imagining the Zuck thinking "I. Am. Steve. Jobs.  The master took 'direct interest in projects' so I will do the same.  If I slather my awesomeness on all things Facebook, how can we fail?"

  • Reply 16 of 76


    No matter how you cut it, the guy is now a billionaire. That is a lot of money and a job well done.  :)

  • Reply 17 of 76
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djkfisher View Post


    No matter how you cut it, the guy is now a billionaire. That is a lot of money and a job well done.  :)



     


    If only people would give Steve Jobs the same credit. But they don't.

  • Reply 18 of 76
    What the world needs: a phone that sends all your data to FaceBook.
  • Reply 19 of 76
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    welshdog wrote: »
    I'm thinking the shareholders won't be liking this news all that much.

    And they cannot do anything about it. Mark is owns the controlling interest in Facebook.
  • Reply 20 of 76
    ankleskaterankleskater Posts: 1,287member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


     


    If only people would give Steve Jobs the same credit. But they don't.



     


    People don't give Steve Jobs credit? You're being sarcastic, right?

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