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.
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.