Apple is looking to reorganize its AI team by having its San Diego-located employees merge with their Texas counterparts in Austin. People familiar with the situation say that many employees are at risk of termination as the tech giant looks to move forward with AI projects.
According to reports, Apple told employees that they had until the end of next month to decide if they wanted to relocate to the Lone Star State. For those who choose not to relocate to Texas, they will be terminated on April 26th.
The group in question is responsible for improving Siri by listening to queries to the voice service and determining if the program was able to handle the questions appropriately. They focused on Siri use in English, Portuguese, French, Hebrew, and multiple dialects of Spanish.
People with knowledge of the situation stated that the decision came from Christine DeFilippo who is a top deputy to Apple AI chief John Giannandrea.
Earlier this week, it wasn’t confirmed until an Apple spokeswoman confirmed the relocation move. They said in par that the company is “bringing Data Operations Annotations teams in the US together at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based.“.
She went on to add that “everyone currently employed will have the opportunity to continue their role with Apple in Austin.” Engineers in the San Diego office weren’t expecting such a move as Apple informed them that the team would move to a new Apple campus local to San Diego.
Though not a direct cut in staff, the company wanted to highlight that it was “deeply committed to San Diego.” With that said, people have come forward to Bloomberg to state that the majority of the affected workers have indicated that they were unwilling to make the move to Texas.
Apple is offering $7,000 relocation stipends to those who choose to make the move. For those who choose not to, they’ll see their roles eliminated, get four weeks of severances, plus a week per year they worked with Apple and six months of health insurance.
One thing to note is that unlike many of their counterparts in the tech space, Apple has gone with little reduction in labor since the Covid pandemic.