Apple To Scale Back Hiring After iPhone Slowdown – Report

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Hiring spree at Apple to slow for certain divisions, warns Tim Cook, but there will be no hiring freeze

Apple is reducing the hiring of new people for certain divisions, in response to the sales slowdown of its iPhone handsets, it has been suggested.

It comes amid reports that the iPad maker has already scaled back its planned iPhone production run to 40 to 43 million units in the current quarter, down from 47 to 48 million units.

Apple had stunned investors earlier this month when it warned of a “magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” that forced it to lower its revenue forecast for its fiscal first quarter to $84bn (£67bn) – down from its original forecast of $89bn to $93bn.

Hiring reduction

And as a consequence of the above, Apple will now cut back on hiring for some divisions, Bloomberg reported, citing ‘people familiar with the matter’.

They said that Apple CEO Tim Cook had made the disclosure to staff earlier this month during a meeting – a day after he had warned investors that Apple would miss its sales guidance.

During the meeting Cook was reportedly asked if the company would impose a hiring freeze in response. Cook apparently said he didn’t believe that was the solution, but he admitted that some divisions would reduce hiring.

Cook also reportedly said he was yet to fully determine which divisions would cut back on hiring, but said that key groups such as Apple’s artificial intelligence team would continue to aggressively hire new employees.

This was evidenced in April last year, when Apple hired Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea – a move described as a major coup for Apple at the time.

Cook also reportedly said that a division’s importance to Apple’s future isn’t measured by hiring rates, and the hiring slowdown would not affect plans to open new offices in Texas, nor expand in the Los Angeles area.

An Apple spokesman didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

AI moves

Apple of course is looking to open up other revenue streams, and over the past few years it has been quietly building up its AI capabilities.

In 2017 it acquired data mining company Lattice.io in a deal reportedly worth about $200 million (£155m).

Despite this, Apple is perceived to have been lagging behind rivals such as Google, Facebook, and even Amazon. Indeed, many feel that Siri for example is some way behind the likes of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or even at one stage Microsoft’s Cortana.

Apple’s late arrival on the AI bandwagon is evidenced by its tardy decision to join the ‘Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society’, or ‘Partnership on AI’ for short in January 2017.

This non-profit group had been established by founding members including Amazon, Facebook, Google (DeepMind), IBM and Microsoft back in September 2016, to explore the ethics and applications of AI technology.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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