‘A last resort kind of thing’

While tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Meta have laid off thousands of employees recently, Apple has avoided doing so. In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged this and said that he views layoffs as a “last resort kind of thing.”

Tim Cook on Apple layoffs

Cook acknowledged that Apple has made changes to its spending and hiring plans due to broader economic conditions. The company, for instance, is “managing costs very tightly and is curtailing hiring in certain areas, while continuing to hire in others.”

Cook went on to say that layoffs are a “last resort kind of thing” and that the company would rather manage costs in other ways.

“I view layoffs as a last resort kind of thing,” Mr. Cook said. “You can never say never. We want to manage costs in other ways to the degree that we can.”

A report in January, also from the WSJ, speculated on why Apple has avoided layoffs, unlike other tech companies.

One of the biggest reasons cited in that report is that Apple has been far more restrained in its hiring over the last three years than others. While its competitors increased their headcount by anywhere in the 57% to 100% range between September 2019 to September 2022, Apple’s headcount grew by around 20%.

The report also pointed to Apple’s “lean” approach for employee perks (at least in comparison to other tech companies), as well as its very methodical approach to investing in projects with less certain futures. For instance, Apple is investing heavily in things like AR and VR, but it’s doing so at a slower pace than companies like Meta and Facebook investing in new areas.

But as Cook himself says in today’s interview, Apple layoffs cannot be ruled out completely. For the time being, however, they do not appear to be something in the immediate future. There are also other ways Apple can reduce its headcount, such as attrition: simply not replacing people who leave the company.

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Naveen Kumar

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