What Does Facebook Want With This Ex-Apple Engineer?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) might be a little bit cranky about this personnel change, but it’s not exactly like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is stealing staff from Apple — it’s just been acquiring some of them after Apple was done with them — and one recent departure from Apple could be playing a big role at the social network.

Richard Williamson may be known more recently for his work on the troubled Apple Maps, which couldn’t quite fill the shoes of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) navigation tool when it replaced Google Maps in iOS 6, and Williamson was dropped from Apple’s roster when the company changed a lot of management in November after the failure of Apple Maps.

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Before the Apple Maps fiasco began, Williamson had been with Apple for years, and he was actually one of the engineers responsible for building software for the original iPhone. Now, that’s a much nicer contribution to remember Williamson for, and it may be the one that prompted Facebook’s interest.

Two sources told Bloombergthat Williamson joined Facebook a few weeks ago and was added as a manager for the company’s mobile-software group. He’s not the first Apple alumnus to move to Facebook, as the company has hired engineers, designers, and even a marketing specialist after they had left Apple…

Considering the human resources Facebook has acquired, the company may have a strong roster ready to boost its presence and functionality on mobile devices, which are proving increasingly important as more users ditch their computers and rely on their smartphones to access Facebook. The social-networking giant recently launched an Android product called Home that some of the Apple team members were pivotal in bringing to fruition. Future analysis of Home’s success could be a good measure of how valuable the new staff is.

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Given Apple’s success as a tech company, it’s no wonder that lots of companies out there are anxious to pick up the staff that finishes their time at Apple. But one puzzling question that remains: what exactly does Facebook want with one of the men behind Apple’s mapping flop?

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