Senior Apple product integrity director poached by Google for... secret project?

Senior Apple QA director poached by Google for... secret project?

Sounds like Google has hired away Simon Prakash, formerly Apple's senior director of product integrity, to work on a "secret project" deep in the heart of the Googleplex. Reports VentureBeat:

Simon Prakash worked at Apple for more than eight years and was most recently the senior director of product integrity at Apple, according to his LinkedIn page. That means he was responsible for product quality across all of Apple’s products, from iPhones to Macs. Apple has the best reputation for product quality, according to consumer satisfaction surveys by J.D. Power.

The hiring is notable for a couple of reasons. First, Apple and Google had an infamous no-poaching pact in place for many years, a gentlemanly if potentially actionable agreement not to actively solicit or hire each other's talent. The U.S. Justice Department is still investigating the arrangement on the grounds it unfairly limited employee work options and compensation. Combined with the strains in Apple and Google's relationship, that agreement seems no longer to be in place.

Second, it shows Google is continuing to evolve into a company that values design and polish as much as features and engineering. The knock on Google used to be that their stuff worked great but wasn't much to look at -- that it felt designed by committee and that no one had tried using it before it shipped. Over the last year they've given facelifts to all their major online properties, and it looks like they're only getting started.

With Prakash's hire, the burning question is, what "secret project" will he be working on? He's a hardware guy in a company that's so far been content to let partners like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola make all their hardware. Google is in the process of buying Motorola, but claims they'll be running it as a separate business. Merely helping oversee the quality of partner hardware doesn't seem that "secret" however.

With co-founder Sergei Brin running all sorts of experimental initiatives over at Google, it really doesn't have to be phones or tablets -- it could be flying saucers. But it kinda has to be phones and tablets, right?

Source: VentureBeat

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 21 comments. Add yours.

SockRolid says:

Re: "But everyone’s going to think it’s phones and tablets, right?"
I dunno. Prakash could have been hired for Project BLE.
Be Less Evil.

Rob White says:

And the evil you speak of is where? Just curious as I have Google all over my iPhone and Mac Pro.

Glenn#IM says:

Is this the Mr, product quality that missed the poor antenna design? Could he be Google's demise? All kidding aside, I believe you should have the same chance as anyone else qualified for a job. Just because you worked for company A, and left on your own, does not mean company G should not be able to hire you. Only if company G said, quit A and we will pay you a bunch more to come with us. That is the real problem.

Pimp Lucious says:

Why should he or anyone else not be able to leave a job to pursue employment in another company, even one that competes with the former, when that company offers better pay and benefits for his talents. To not be able to do so because of agreements between the companies is exactly what has Apple, Google and a few other companies in hot water right now. It's illegal.

OrionAntares#CB says:

I thought it had been determined that that antenna issue had been caught but they pushed the phone out anyways to meet deadline?

Glenn#IM says:

True, but if you signed an aggrement with Apple not to tell anyone their secerets, and you go to work for another company, and share your knowledge of what you know. That is also illegal.

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These seem like more of a problem with the iPads lackluster browser than Facebooks website. The iPad should have a more full featured browser than can handle popular websites. I feel as if I am using a phones browser on a laptop sized screen. It is not Facebooks responsibility to pick up the slack for Apple's failure.

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