In yet a further sign that Tim Cook is shaping Apple in his own image, word spread last week that select Apple employees now have the option to spend upwards of two weeks focusing on engineering projects of their own choosing. If this sounds somewhat familiar, it's because it bears more than a few similarities to Google's 20% program wherein Google employees can devote 20% of their work week to pursue independent work projects. Notably, Google's program has yielded a number of initiatives and technologies that have gone on to shape the company's core offerings, with Gmail being a prime example.
The new program from Apple is dubbed "Blue Sky".
The Wall Street Journal adds:
The idea was previously anathema at Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company is known for organizing teams around a few focused projects that come from the top. Employees have often griped about the lack of leeway.
When it comes to culture among technology companies, Apple is still an outlier. Its managers have long ignored standard Silicon Valley perks, such as free lunches, believing the opportunity to work at the company and on its popular products compelled people to stay.
But that's all starting to change. Apple under Tim Cook may still be stringent, but a number of employees, speaking anonymously of course, have stated that they now have more room to breathe as Cook has enacted steps to make Apple more cognizant of employee demands and receptive to complaints.
Tim Cook, the report further adds, is also more receptive to allowing employees to take sabbaticals, something which Steve Jobs reportedly wasn't terribly enthusiastic about. Furthermore, Apple has reportedly been more open about making counteroffers to employees contemplating jumping ship to other companies.
All in all, Tim Cook seems to be putting his own stamp on Apple and is fulfilling the wishes of Steve Jobs who famously warned Apple executives not to fall prey to "what would Steve do?" syndrome following his passing.