Cupertino’s Axe Man

One of the most frustrating things to see in tech over the past few years are the massive layoffs. Meta, Google, Amazon, and many more had over-hired during COVID and decided reversing course was a good idea. Mixed into this reporting (and in my writing here too) was the fact that Apple was not one of those companies. Sadly, the current market caught up to them too as the company announced 600 people have been let go. The AP has more.

The iPhone maker notified 614 workers in multiple offices on March 28 that they were losing their jobs, with the layoffs becoming effective on May 27, according to reports to regional authorities. 

The workers were cut from eight offices in Santa Clara, according to the filings under the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, also known as WARN. But it’s not clear which departments or projects the employees were involved in. 

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. 

The Cupertino, California, company had been a notable exception as other tech companies slashed their workforces over the past two years. There was a massive surge in hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people spent more time and money online, and big tech companies are still larger than they were before the pandemic. Still, as growth slows, companies are focusing on cutting costs. 

In a recent regulatory filing, Apple said it had about 161,000 full-time equivalent employees.

AP News

Now, 614 people out of 161k is a very small amount. In percentages you could say this would be at a level any company would be expected to let go in normal shuffling of projects, priorities, etc. It sucks. There's no way around that, but it's nowhere near the level of what Amazon and Meta have done. But I'm not going to put lipstick on a pig. It truly sucks.

Interestingly, the never-ending-rumor of an Apple car that recently was (again rumored) to be officially dead happened only a few weeks before this. I guess that gives some credence to a car project, especially because you can't transfer someone who does car engineering to working on iPhone engineering. Specialized work comes with those risks. Does this mean an Apple car was real? Maybe. There's always been smoke in that realm, but I've always attributed it to Apple's mapping efforts and not a car itself. Maybe one day in a decade an employee will answer this in an interview. For now, my hope is everyone who was affected by the layoff gets a new gig real quick.

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