Apple’s reorganization efforts within Siri team leading to layoffs


Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Apple's reorganization efforts could cost 121 people their jobs.
Image: Apple

Apple is shutting down its Data Operations Annotations office in San Diego and merging employees who are willing to relocate with their teammates in Texas.

The move reportedly comes as a big surprise to the California workers. Until very recently, Apple told them they would simply be moving to another location in San Diego.

Apple wants its Siri team in San Diego to relocate

Over the last year, the tech industry has seen massive layoffs, with Google, Meta and Amazon letting go of thousands of employees. Apple was one of the only big outliers, but this move will change that.

The 121 affected employees must confirm if they can relocate to Texas by the end of February, according to Bloomberg. However, many staffers are not willing to move to Austin. Those who agree to move will get $7,000 as a relocation stipend. Laid-off employees will get four weeks of severance and an additional week of pay for every year worked from Apple. They will also get six months of health insurance coverage.

Apple is not laying off thousands of employees like some other tech giants. However, it shows that even employees at a company as big as Apple are not immune from layoffs in current economic conditions.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the “relocation” in a statement to Bloomberg. She said the company is bringing its “Data Operations Annotations teams in the US together at our campus in Austin, where most of the team is already based.” The spokeswoman also confirmed that all existing employees in the San Diego team are being given “the opportunity to continue their role with Apple in Austin.”

Some affected employees are helping Apple with its AI transition

Apple’s Data Operations Annotations group is located in multiple countries, including China, India, Ireland and Spain. They work on improving Siri by listening to user queries and ensuring the assistant heard it properly. Christine DeFilippo, the senior director of operations, reportedly decided to close the San Diego office.

The shutdown came as a total surprise to Apple workers in San Diego, according to Bloomberg.
“The AI team had been working from an office that Apple is renting, according to the people,” the publication said. “But the company had told staff recently that they would be relocated to a new Apple campus in the area at the end of January. Earlier this month, Apple distributed packing boxes to employees to prepare for a relocation within the city.”

Affected employees can apply for other positions within Apple. However, many seemingly don’t think they will be eligible due to their non-engineering backgrounds. Some employees have started assisting with Apple’s move to integrate AI into its products and services. They review potential Siri queries and select the appropriate answer from a prespecified list.

Workers in the Southern California outpost “focused on Siri use in Hebrew, English, multiple dialects of Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and French,” according to Bloomberg.


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