Tim Cook, in Leaked Memo, Says Employees Who Leak Memos Do Not Belong at Apple

Tim Cook, in a company-wide memo leaked to Zoe Schiffer at The Verge, after a company-wide all-hands virtual meeting, portions of which leaked to Zoe Schiffer at The Verge:

I’m writing today because I’ve heard from so many of you were were [sic, at least in The Verge’s copy] incredibly frustrated to see the contents of the meeting leak to reporters. This comes after a product launch in which most of the details of our announcements were also leaked to the press.

I want you to know that I share your frustration. These opportunities to connect as a team are really important. But they only work if we can trust that the content will stay within Apple. I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who leaked. As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it’s product IP or the details of a confidential meeting. We know that the leakers constitute a small number of people. We also know that people who leak confidential information do not belong here.

When Tim Cook is right, he’s right. When some of these leakers — all of whom signed contracts agreeing not to leak; all of whom know that the overwhelming majority of their colleagues despise leaks — wind up getting fired, it’s on them. An orchestra of the world’s tiniest violins is queued up and ready to serenade them out the door. The idea that it’s somehow mean-spirited or vindictive to say leakers ought to go is ludicrous. Everyone at Apple knows the score.

Zoe Schiffer’s singular place in this saga is rather remarkable. She’s on the labor beat at The Verge, not a product beat, but she’s reported more leaks from Apple than anyone in recent months — perhaps more leaks than all other reporters combined — and has established herself as a must-read reporter regarding Apple. Apple’s Slack fiasco, the (self-indulgent, in my opinion) internal letter that circulated amongst employees dissatisfied with the company’s post-COVID plans for new work-from-home policies, another internal letter asking Tim Cook to take a pro-Palestinian stance, the petition demanding an investigation into the hiring of Antonio García Martínez — all of those leaks came in the last five months, and all of them were reported first by Schiffer.

If Schiffer weren’t on this beat, most of these stories would not be public. Antonio García Martínez’s knee-jerk firing probably would have been reported — his hiring was news, so his firing would have been too — but I’m not sure about any of the others.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021