Apple Warns Employees to Knock It Off, Punished 29 Leakers in 2017

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Apple is known for being among the most secretive and confidential companies around, and often goes to great lengths to protect and prevent the intricate details of its upcoming products and announcements from being divulged ahead of schedule.

That, however, hasn’t stopped some of the company’s rogue employees from breaking away from their private-minded expectations and sharing details about Apple’s best kept secrets with media outlets, analysts and more. 

In fact, in a leaked internal memo issued to its employees this week, Apple not only reiterated its iron-clad stance on policies relating to how it deals with employees who leak info ahead of its time — but further noted that it “caught 29 leakers” during the 2017 calendar year, alone — no fewer than a dozen of whom went on to be arrested because of their actions.

“These people not only lose their jobs,” but “they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere,” Apple noted in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg on Friday.

In the memo, the company went on to describe two instances in which employees were caught leaking information to the media ahead of schedule, including one episode transpiring after an early-2018 meeting with VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, during which he told employees present that some of iOS 12’s planned software features would be delayed.

In another episode, one employee leaked information ahead of the company’s September 2017 iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3 unveiling, revealing key details about a “yet-to-be-released software package” which were clearly not intended for public release.

“We want the chance to tell our customers why the product is great, and not have that done poorly by someone else,” added Great Joswaik, an Apple product marketing executive cited in the memo.

Bloomberg notes that Apple’s apparent crackdown on leakers is actually part of a “broader and long-running attempt” by Silicon Valley tech firms who’ve become increasingly voracious in how they go about catching and penalizing employees found to have leaked information to the public.

While they’re generally “pretty open with stuff about their plans,” other firms like Google and Facebook like to keep close tabs on their outside communications too — and aren’t afraid to fire employees who’ve been found responsible for leaking it.

Apple’s memo further calls for employees to respect the integrity of one another’s work, as well as Apple’s personal investments in creating products, software and services.

“Thousands of people work tirelessly for months to deliver each major software release,” added Josh Shaffer, an Apple team leader who worked on UIKit — part of the items that formed last year’s iOS 11 leak. “Seeing it leak is devastating for all of us.”

“Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives – work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together,” Joswaik says at the end the memo. “The best way to honor those contributions is by not leaking.”

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