Print 21 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Feb 6 at 7:10 PM

Simon Prakash will be working on a secret Google project

A number of the biggest technology firms in the tech world and some companies that you wouldn't think of as technology firms are embroiled in the middle of a Department of Justice investigation into claims that they had agreements to not hire employees from each other. The problem with the no-poaching agreements is that it allegedly reduced the competition in the industry, thereby reducing salaries for technology employees.
An investigation is still ongoing and is focusing on Google, Apple, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Intel, Intuit among others.
Interestingly, Google has just now pulled off the wooing of the highest-level Apple employee it has ever hired. Simon Prakash was formally with Apple for eight years and was a senior director of product integrity. Prakash was responsible for the product quality across the entire Apple product line including iPhones, Mac computers, tablets and the whole works.
VentureBeat reports that Prakash will be working on a secret project at Google. Hiring Prakash away is a bit of a coup for Google since Apple is known near and far for product quality. Presumably, Prakash will be ensuring that Google products will have that same reputation. While it's not clear what Prakash will be doing, it would be easy enough to guess that he may have something to do with the Android products Motorola Mobility will be building.
The timing of Prakash being hired by Google and the DOJ investigation into the alleged no poaching agreement is interesting. We have to wonder if Prakash moving to Google will draw any more attention today than it would have six months ago.
One thing is certain, however, the Android product realm could use more quality and if Prakash is indeed working on that for Motorola Mobility and Google, this is a good thing for Android users.

Source: VentureBeat

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By powergrip19 on 2/6/2012 12:48:00 PM , Rating: 5
...since Apple is known near and far for product quality.

What are you smoking?

By gladiatorua on 2/6/2012 12:55:10 PM , Rating: 4
"Apple is known" doesn't mean that the quality is actually there. Only perception of quality.
But I'd have to agree that the quality of Apple products is quite high. Even if I hate their actions and policies very passionately.

By Samus on 2/6/2012 2:48:56 PM , Rating: 5
I agree as well. I don't own any Apple products, but have repaired Macbook's and iMac's. They are built pretty well and have quality components and designs.

I think ThinkPad's are superior in most ways, but when you consider the majority of OEM's, Apple outranks almost everyone in overall quality, such as Acer, Asus, Dell, etc.

Sure, occasionally HP and Dell build something on par with Apple quality, but the majority of their products are trash.

Apple has the luxury of being in this position when the cheapest laptop they sell costs $1000.

By powergrip19 on 2/6/2012 1:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
Apple as a whole is not known for quality. Apple is known for ease of use.

I do own an Ipod and I do like it and still use it. However you can't say apple is known for quality when for example a phone they designed had massive antennae issues and a lot of their products like the iMacs and iPads have massive overheating issues. These are just two of the larger issues that have plagued apple products.

By augiem on 2/6/2012 1:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
And the yellowing of the iMac displays a while back. Regardless of these flaws, Apple comes out unscathed. The general public image persists tat Apple makes the highest quality, easiest to use, most exciting products available that carry no risk of malware or crashing, that "just work", and are worth every penny of their inflated prices if just for the prestige factir alone. Maybe its selective memory loss. But they sure do care about build quality, that's for sure.

By kleinma on 2/6/2012 2:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think apple cares less about quality and more about design. The 2 can overlap in places and it is easy to mistake nice design for quality.

For example, the unibody macbook laptops are very nice looking, but tend to have horrible heat disipation issues because they are designed with looks and user functionality in mind over designing it so the hardware can perform optimally. Likewise, the older macbooks required as much work as open heart surgery to remove a bad hard drive. I believe that has changed for the better in their newer models (and off topic but equally annoying, dells new line of laptops has followed this stupid path and puts their HDDs inside under the palmrest plastics that require near full disassmebly to get to them).

Apple does things like non removable/replacable batteries. Why would they do such a thing?

1) Planned obsolecense of their annually released products
2) So they can charge you to replace if you want to do so
3) Block the after market from selling batteries for their products.

Overall though, people probably have close to an equal number of issues with the mac that they do with the PC if you scale the numbers based on the percentage of people who own macs versus PC. I get tons of calls about people with mac issues. Yes for the most part they work well, but when they don't, it is a much more sealed black box to work with than you get with a Windows PC, which are usually much easier to get fixed up when you have an issue. (in my experience anyway, and I repair about 20-30 machines per week, PC and Mac)

By MrBlastman on 2/6/2012 2:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
Apple has always cared primarily about look and feel over engineering prowess ever since Steve came back in the late 90's. The original i-Mac exuded that philosophy.

Apple's products remind me of a trash can we had in our house that pissed me off to no end. It was sleek, made of metal and had a removable wastebasket with a handle inside of it--along with a floor pedal to open the lid.

The problem was, however, it was designed by a marketing department and not engineers. The bag didn't have a way to properly catch on the sides so it would always fall inwards. When I went to try and remove the bag after it was full... it wouldn't come out due to the shape of the recepticle and... it would always get caught on the handle.

It was hideously annoying to use as a trash can. It looked great sitting in the kitchen, though. It eventually pissed me off one time too many and got kicked pretty hard leaving a nice dent in it. We now have a fat, metal trash can that doesn't look like much but you can tell engineers made it, not marketers as it is perfectly functional and does what it was meant to do, flawlessly.

Apple sacrifices engineerable functionality for form and feel. Their products need to look great to sell--i.e be marketable. They sell very well as a result.

In the end, though, after owning a mac product for some time if you manage to stay out of the reality distortion field, you notice little things where they cut corners... Things like the heat dissipation you mention or Macbook batteries dying every 1.5 years with no explanation... over and over again. In my wife's Macbook's defense, Apple did replace the battery each time, well, until the warranty ran out. She now has to use it plugged in because I see no point in blowing 135 bucks on batteries every 1.5 years. It's stupid absurd, I tell you.

However, Dell subscribes to the whole "planned obsolescence" thing quite well. I have a few friends who all have had their Dells die within three to five years. They all died the same way, too. It always started with the screen developing lines in it (stuck rows of pixels) and the fan running full bore. I finally discovered why with my own Dell. Curious to know what it was?

Well, as it happens, Dell loads a neat application called DSC.exe or the Dell service center. Apparently, when your Dell gets old enough, the application forces your Dell's CPU into an infinite loop thus heating the notebook up to absurd temperatures slowly cooking the GPU hardware, screen hardware and whatever else... thus leading to it failing eventually. DSC, for whatever reason, always finds a way to come back even if you remove it from startup etc. My Dell has lines in the screen, too, as a result of this abusive software. I have no proof other than my anecdotal experience along with others, but, there you have it.

So really, what is the moral of all of this? Don't buy brand name stuff. Better yet, build your own computer stuff.

RE: Yo Shane, pass the kouchie to the left hand side
By tayb on 2/6/2012 2:47:33 PM , Rating: 2
Your experiences are very uncommon I think. If Macbook batteries were dying after 1.5 years like clockwork as you suggest Apple would have been involved in several class action lawsuits. In fact if what you say is true you might have a case of your own.

My fiance bought her Macbook 6 years ago when she was a freshman in college. This past December (2011) I finally replaced her battery because it wouldn't hold much of a charge. 5.5 years of battery before replacing is perfectly acceptable in my opinion. I have personally owned 2 Macbook Pros but never longer than 7-8 months so I do not have any relevant personal experience.

Apple does sometimes sacrifice form for function and it typically rears its head in the form of heat dissipation but a laptop that doesn't get warm would certainly be a sight to see.

By retrospooty on 2/6/2012 7:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Your links are old. Try something newer.

Regardless, Apple's products themselves are pretty well built. Not alot of rejects and not a lot of defects. Not the best, but always near the top.

RE: Yo Shane, pass the kouchie to the left hand side
By tayb on 2/6/2012 2:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Go to Best Buy and browse the laptop section. Check out the Windows based notebooks and then check out the OSX notebooks. The change could not be more noticeable. I know there are plenty of Windows computers that are very well put together but by and large the average Windows notebook is a plastic hunk of junk with a crap display.

Apple doesn't deal in the low-end notebook market so yes they ARE known for quality.

By kleinma on 2/6/2012 2:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well your first issue is the fact that you are shopping at best buy. ;)

If one is going to pick between a PC or a Mac for a laptop, they should shop in the same price range. I can't stand people who debate over a PC or Mac, decide on PC, and buy one for $499. They would have had to spend 2x that to get an entry level macbook, and then they wonder why the PC they got doesn't feel so zippy.

And forget about Dell and HP which are the 2 big retail guys in the PC market... Look at the up and coming laptop makers like Samsung, Acer, Asus, and perhaps even Vizio (haven't seen their stuff yet). These are the PC makers that are looking to innovate and make better quality machines. HP and Dell have just become too complacent in their positions of power.

By tayb on 2/6/2012 2:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's my point entirely though. I described an average citizens buying experience. They'll see crappy Windows notebooks that are heavy, made of flexing plastic, and have crappy low resolution screens. Then they'll see aluminum Macbook Pros with nice screens. Perception is reality here for most shoppers who don't browse

Like I said, there are plenty of quality notebooks out there that are running Windows. Samsung and Acer have some awesome MBA-esque notebooks that I would definitely buy but even if those laptops are on the shelves at a place like Best Buy they are still flanked by cheap crap.

By Tony Swash on 2/6/2012 2:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think the odds that Brian Hall is right are getting better, and that Google's purchase of Motorola is about building a cheap (free?) Android feature phone with Google services backed in targeted at the developing world.

By tayb on 2/6/2012 2:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's plausible but I don't think you hire away the head of product integrity so you can build cheap phones to give away to developing countries.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2012 6:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
In Tony-land, that actually makes sense though.

Two ply... One ply...
By MrBlastman on 2/6/2012 1:24:18 PM , Rating: 1
Think about it. I stand in the isle of the supermarket looking at toilet paper. On one side of me, I see these gloriously puffy two-ply rolls; all of them are stacked neatly, orderly and promise things such as wiping nirvana from their poofy leaflets of fabric. On the other side, I see one-ply sheets boasting the benefit of having twice as many sheets per roll giving me value for my money.

I look at their prices. They happen to be slightly different, but not by much.

I then walk further down the isle and I see ultra-budget one-ply sheets. You know, the kind that makes you think of sandpaper ripping your backside open as your sacrifice your innards through some distorted act of rectal seppuku--blood and all. This is the hard core stuff, the stuff of real warriors. The porcelain assasin that is bound to leave your kids you just dropped off glad they didn't "stick" around.

Yet, thinking about it, you note that the price is nearly half the other rolls and it has three times the sheets. Given the burden of the decision, it doesn't seem so bad, after all, right?

You can be anal or... you can get anal. Either way though, you're still wiping your backside. You take those lofty sheets and you roll them up, ball them up and gently spread wide to clean yourself off. In the end, the same goal is served.

So, what the heck does this have to do with smartphones? At face value, not a lot, right? It seems a pretty crappy analogy to try and connect with them...

But, then again, is it? You've got one phone that sits around all shiny saying, "hey, look at me!" as it gleefully boasts ease of use. Then, you've got another phone that jumps up and down saying, "I get more done for less money, I'm the best!"

They both get the job done, in a different way. Now--they have something in common. They both will have been touched by the same anal guy and in the end... I suppose, it will make it all come out better.

Nice Job, Google. Way to stick it to Apple.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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