CNBC: ‘Apple Lays Off Over 200 From Autonomous Vehicle Group’


Apple dismissed just over 200 employees this week from Project Titan, its stealthy autonomous vehicle group, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

An Apple spokesperson acknowledged the layoffs and said the company still sees opportunity in the space:

“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple,” the spokesperson said. “We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever.”

Some perspective here. Project Titan is big — there are still a lot of people working on it. Doug Field’s message to the troops is that he thinks smaller teams do better work. This is not an indication that company is losing conviction on autonomous systems; it’s Field structuring the project the way he wants it. Apple’s statement is — as usual — true: the company is full steam ahead on this autonomous stuff.

Update: CNBC’s use of the term layoff is misleading, if not outright wrong. My understanding is that everyone leaving the autonomous group is still employed by Apple — they have a few months to find new roles within the company. I’m not trying to sugarcoat anything here, but that is not a layoff.

Saturday, 26 January 2019