Employees (former and current) say the rumor should be treated with skepticism
A person with connections to Apple’s staff is debunking rumors of “fake projects” being undertaken at the company, noting that friend-of-a-friend conversations are not to be taken seriously.“Apple always seemed to be a no-[expletive] kind of place when it comes to the seriousness of your work and what you get done,” one former engineer tells Jacqui Cheng of arstechnica.
“I find it suspect that they'd ever waste their own and the employee's time on something that didn't directly contribute to their bottom line somehow,” this person said when asked about the “fake projects” rumor.
Cheng reportedly spoke to a number of other Apple employees in various tenures. Regardless of their restrictions to information (level of access), they “all expressed the same sentiment.”
According to the report, “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.”
Only one former employee said he had “heard” about fake assignments to test staffers’ loyalty, “but only from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend,” according to the source.
The staffer himself said that “the rumor should be treated with a skeptical eye.”
A current Apple employee tapped by the technology site said, “I don't really see the need for that kind of stuff because everything is NDAed [governed by a nondisclosure agreement] out the [expletive].”
“You can be hired for a position where they don't tell you what you're working on beforehand, sure, but if they're choosing to hire you with your skill set, you might be able to hazard a guess on what it's about. It's a lot easier to have someone sign an NDA and then fire them if they violate it,” this person added.
It is worth noting that fake projects – if there ever was such a thing at Apple – probably mostly happened during Steve Jobs’ reign.
Apple’s secrecy is no longer what it used to be, with Tim Cook at the helm. Not that it’s all bad, but the change is visible even to the untrained eye.