Don Melton, who ran WebKit and Safari for Apple until last year, has been sharing his insights for a while now on his personal blog. His latest post delves into the canard of fake projects and loyalty tests, but in dispelling it, Melton also sheds light on why Apple's corporate culture makes such things outlandish to begin with. From donmelton.com:
Clearly, duplication of effort is not big in Cupertino. Even with two operating systems — iOS and OS X — the idea is to share technologies that make sense and keep those technologies from diverging too much. Otherwise it becomes really complicated to coordinate releases. It’s not perfect, but anyone who’s attended an Apple developer conference knows the company takes reducing even that kind of duplication seriously.
In stark contrast to competitors who sometimes have 3 versions of the same service, or multiple layers of middle management, or committees of engineers, Apple runs not like the enormous mega-corporation it is, but an almost cell-like structure of small, lean, stay-hungry startups.
There's no better way to keep secrets than not to provide people with information they don't need in the first place, and no better way to keep loyalty than to empower people with meaningful work.
Logic, understanding, and experience cuts through a lot of noise. Check out the rest of Melton's post for more.