Facebook parent’s company Meta is reportedly hungry for brains to build its vision of the Metaverse, but its big tech rivals aren’t giving up their talent without a fight (or at least some generous financial deal-sweeteners).
In the week before Christmas, Apple told some of its top-performing engineers they would be receiving surprise bonuses ranging between $50,000 to $180,000, issued as restricted stock units, according to Bloomberg. The bonuses, which are not typically dished out at this time of year by the company, were reportedly given to high performers to persuade them from defecting to Meta.
The giants of Silicon Valley have good reason to be wary of each other. Recent times have seen tech companies fiercely vying for the top talent, concerned that their competitors might be able to win over their brightest brains with incentives. As per Bloomberg, Meta has poached about 100 engineers from Apple in the last few months, while a number of top Meta employees have jumped ship to Apple.
Meta has recently announced its master plan to build the so-called Metaverse, a virtual reality environment in which people can interact with other users. Currently, the project appears to be little more than a Zoom meeting with VR headsets, but it has lofty visions to create an immersively Ready Player One OASIS-like platform within the next 10 to 15 years. To achieve this, the company has said it would hire 10,000 high-skilled engineers within the European Union (EU) over the next five years. It also announced it's providing $50 million in funding to ensure the Metaverse is being “developed responsibly.”
Not everyone is optimistic about this ambitious aspiration, however. Some leading experts have suggested that the Metaverse raises a bunch of concerns, ranging from cybersecurity issues to abuses of power. Elon Musk simply thinks the idea is overhyped and, quite frankly, a bit boring.
“I’m not sure I buy into this idea of the Metaverse stuff. Sure you can put a TV on your nose. I’m not sure that makes you ‘in the metaverse,’ y' know,” Musk recently said in a podcast with conservative satirical news site The Babylon Bee.
“I don’t see someone strapping a frigging screen to their face all day and not wanting to ever leave. That seems — no way,” he continued. “I think we’re far from disappearing into the Metaverse. It sounds kind of like a buzzword."