Apple Allowing Select Employees to Devote Time to Special Projects [Updated]

NewImageApple is allowing a small group of employees to spend up to two weeks working on projects outside their standard job responsibilities. This was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Lessin, by way of Business Insider.

It's similar to Google's 20% time, which lets employees spend 20% of their time on side projects that could end up helping Google.

Lessin cautioned it was a "far cry" from what Google does. It's limited to a small group of employees at Apple.

We don't have too many details for how the program, reportedly nicknamed "Blue Sky", works. It may allow employees to spend time on their own projects, or if they could be temporarily assigned to other working groups within Apple.

Update: Lessin's full Wall Street Journal article is now live. Lessin focuses on how the corporate culture is changing at Apple since Tim Cook took over as CEO, noting that Cook has been more accepting of sabbaticals, has praised employees at Apple's media events, and that the company is more frequently giving counteroffers to employees considering posts at other companies.

When it comes to culture among technology companies, Apple is still an outlier. Its managers have long ignored standard Silicon Valley perks, such as free lunches, believing the opportunity to work at the company and on its popular products compelled people to stay.

Last year, in a session of Apple's internal management program Apple University, officials discussed how the company is in some ways more like the military than a traditional corporation, according to a person who was told about the presentation.

But under Chief Executive Tim Cook, who took over from co-founder Steve Jobs last year, Apple is becoming more employee-friendly.

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Top Rated Comments

ECUpirate44 Avatar
151 months ago
I wonder if Apple owns the rights to all of these "personal projects."

Of course they do. Anything done on company time belongs to the company.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gregwyattjr Avatar
151 months ago
I think their special project should be debugging Maps.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shrink Avatar
151 months ago
I wonder if Apple owns the rights to all of these "personal projects."
No, Apple is going to let their employees work on projects on Apple's time, with other Apple personnel, using Apple equipment, and then let them privately patent anything they create and make Apple pay them for the stuff they created.

Right!

Of course Apple owns the rights!!!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aardwolf Avatar
151 months ago
As Scott Adams (the writer of Dilbert) put in a comic... They get 20% to work on personal stuff, but they work 60 hours a week.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-12-19/
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NinjaHERO Avatar
151 months ago
So little information, yet so much cynicism and apparent expertise. I'd love to know more so I could form an informed opinion.

Informed opinion? This is the internet. We take one small piece of speculation and we run wild. It's like streaking...only you don't get arrested. ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NinjaHERO Avatar
151 months ago
I think it was a good idea at Google and hopefully it will be a good idea at Apple. Giving creative people a bit of freedom can't be a bad thing, can it?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)