Apple to Cut Back on New Hires Following Disappointing Holiday iPhone Sales

Apple plans to cut back on hiring for some divisions of the company after disappointing iPhone sales during the holiday season, reports Bloomberg.

Apple CEO Tim Cook shared the news with employees at an all-hands meeting earlier this month. According to sources in attendance, Cook was asked if Apple would implement a hiring freeze, but he said that he didn't believe that was an ideal solution. Instead, select divisions will see reduced hirings.

iphone xs vs xr
Cook at the time said Apple had not yet determined which divisions would cut back on hiring, but groups like the AI team will continue to add employees. Cook also told employees that a division's importance to the future of Apple is not measured through hiring rates.

It's not clear how extensive the hiring reduction will be, but new Apple offices planned in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California will not be impacted. In 2018, Apple added 9,000 new employees, and in 2017, Apple added 7,000 new employees. According to a recent SEC filing, Apple employs a total of 132,000 people, including its retail locations.

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Apple's workforce over the past 10 years, chart via Bloomberg

Apple held the all-hands meeting shortly after announcing that it was lowering revenue guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2019 due to fewer ‌iPhone‌ sales than anticipated.

Apple is expecting revenue of $84 billion for Q1 2019, down from a November estimate of $89 to $93 billion and a $4.3 billion drop from the year-ago quarter.

Cook provided multiple reasons for the drop, including ‌iPhone‌ XS, XS Max and XR launch timing, a strong U.S. dollar, supply constraints, economic weakness and trade tensions in China, and weak ‌iPhone‌ upgrade numbers due to fewer carrier subsidies and low-priced battery replacements.

According to Bloomberg, internally, Apple executives have positioned declining ‌iPhone‌ sales as an opportunity for innovation, and Apple is also planning to bolster its growing services category with third-party integrations and an upcoming streaming TV service.

Following Cook's talk with employees, some Apple senior vice presidents held separate meetings with vice presidents, senior directors and other managers in their groups to emphasize that the iPhone sales slowdown is an opportunity for new innovation, according to one of the people.

In addition to fewer new hires in some divisions, Apple has also cut iPhone XR and XS production by 10 percent due to flagging ‌iPhone‌ sales, and it is encouraging more upgrades by dropping prices in China and offering increased trade-in values in the U.S. and other countries.

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Top Rated Comments

levitynyc Avatar
72 months ago
Billions upon billions of untaxed cash sitting in Ireland, but let's have a hiring freeze to appease investors.

How about just cutting the prices of Macs and iPhone?
Score: 93 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bladerunner2000 Avatar
72 months ago
Make a good phone and this won't be a problem... you know; no notch, put in a headphone jack, use the standard USB-C port... things like that.
Score: 61 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tekboi Avatar
72 months ago
The company has over a Trillion Dollars with obscene amount of money overseas that can't be taxed, but they need to "cut back"?



Greed is what is what is destroying popular opinion of the the company and driving down sales.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
44267547 Avatar
72 months ago
Apple needs to focus on in-store services, revamping their pricing structure and understanding the current market when it comes to the iPhone price points and what the consumer wants to upgrade to with a respectable price tag for a smart phone. Hopefully in 2019, we do see some changes in that area.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freida Avatar
72 months ago
Reduce prices to more reasonable level. Right now you are losing customers because you pushed it too far. Simple as that!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
72 months ago
... what have all of Apple's additions over the last several years been doing, exactly? Certainly doesn't seem to be anything worthwhile given we haven't seen much in the way of new products worth buying.

I agree with Cook that a hiring freeze makes no sense (they have plenty of money to hire the best people - cash is not at all a concern for them), but it seems to me that something is making Apple bloated and slow. They really need to trim the fat, and starting with Cook seems like a good choice.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)