Facebook, the social networking giant whose next big thing is said to be a smartphone geared towards friending folks on the go and liking stuff around you, has snagged an Apple talent – Chris Weeldreyer.
At Apple, Weeldreyer used to be a user interface design manager. He worked closely with the teams maintaining Apple’s iPhone business, but he somehow felt he could do more. Facebook offered him a job and he took it
, according to Tech Crunch
He is now a product design manager at Facebook, right on time as rumors are beginning to mount around a potential smartphone release from the social network.
“We’re excited to welcome Chris Weeldreyer to Facebook, where he will be a great addition to our growing design team,” Facebook said.
Nick Bilton of The New York Times learned in late May that “one engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he had met with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones.”
The engineer specifically said “it did not sound like idle intellectual curiosity,” according to the Times, and “Mr. Zuckerberg asked about intricate details, including the types of chips used.”
“Another former Apple hardware engineer was recruited by a Facebook executive and was told about the company’s hardware explorations,” the report added.
The newspaper added at the time that “Facebook is going to great lengths to keep the phone project a secret, specifically not posting job listings on the company’s job Web site, but instead going door-to-door to find the right talent for the project.”
It is not unheard of to poach talent from your rivals. Money certainly provides an incentive, and Apple has lost quite a few talents over the past two years. This new hiring may, or may not materialize in a new smartphone. But one thing is for sure: Facebook is playing hardball.