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Facebook to hire former Apple staff for phone project

What better way to start your new phone project by looking at the people who helped design and develop the Apple iPhone and iPad? According to insider information it would appear that ex Apple employees have been hired by Facebook.

The New York Times published news yesterday, claiming that Facebook have hired “more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone.” Apparently another engineer who worked on the iPad has been drafted into the social networking organisation. The New York Times said that they chatted off the record with some Facebook employees.

Another source claimed that this is the third time that Facebook have attempted to build a smartphone. The other ventures failed because the projects proved to be more difficult than expected.

Other reports claim that Facebook may be partnering up with HTC on a new phone as well. Digitimes claimed than an HTC/Facebook smartphone may arrive later this year, in Q3.

The report said that Zuckerberg is also directly involved in the project. “One engineer who formerly worked at Apple and worked on the iPhone said he had met with [Zuckerberg], … who then peppered him with questions about the inner workings of smartphones.”

A Facebook employee apparently said that Zuckerberg is concerned that, without a phone the company could be just seen as being an ‘app'. Facebook have currently released three applications on the iPhone.

Journalist Nick Bilton contacted the company for clarification on the rumours and was told that they are “working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”

The report also said that Facebook may just end up buying a smartphone company. They have raised $16 billion during their recent IPO which would be enough cash to buy HTC or Research In Motion.

Kitguru says: A wise move hiring some ex Apple employees, if its an accurate report.

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