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Apple Reduces Workforce Following Abandonment of Self-Driving Car Project

Apple Reduces Workforce Following Abandonment of Self-Driving
BBC BBC
Apple Reduces Workforce Following Abandonment of Self-Driving
BBC BBC

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Apple Reduces Workforce Following Abandonment of Self-Driving Car Project

Apple has made the decision to slash over 600 jobs following the apparent abandonment of its self-driving car project. The majority of these job cuts are concentrated at the location in California where the project was underway, as reported by Bloomberg. The state’s employment department was officially informed on March 28th that 614 employees would be laid off come May. When approached for comment, Apple has not yet responded.

Unlike many other companies that have resorted to mass layoffs amid the pandemic, Apple has historically steered clear of such drastic measures. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, emphasized in a CNBC interview last May that layoffs would only be considered as a last resort. Nonetheless, the tech industry has seen over 50,000 job cuts in 2024 alone, according to layoffs.fyi. Notable tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Snap, and PayPal have all announced layoffs this year. Despite this trend, Apple’s layoffs remain relatively modest compared to those of its competitors, with a global workforce of approximately 161,000, according to GlobalData.

Industry analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight notes that while Apple’s job cuts are notable given its stature as the world’s most valuable company, they appear to be driven more by a strategic shift towards emerging areas like artificial intelligence (AI) rather than a need for efficiency. This perspective aligns with reports suggesting that Apple has redirected resources away from its self-driving car project towards AI initiatives.

Reports of Apple scaling back its multi-billion-dollar investment in the self-driving car project surfaced in February, although the company has never officially confirmed its existence. Allegedly, Apple had poured substantial resources into researching and developing a fully autonomous vehicle devoid of traditional controls like a steering wheel and pedals. However, the realization of such a vehicle was believed to be several years away.

Similar to Apple, other automotive players such as Ford and General Motors have also tempered their autonomous vehicle research efforts due to escalating costs. In response to the shift away from the self-driving car project, Apple reportedly reassigned many members of its 2,000-strong electric car team to AI-related endeavors. Additionally, a separate filing in the California jobs report reveals that Apple laid off 121 workers from its San Diego office in January, with reports indicating that these employees were working on AI projects and were encouraged to relocate to Austin, Texas.


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