Apple employees might have to brace for job cuts, according to a company-wide meeting run by otherwise optimistic CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.
Bloomberg reports the virtual meeting was called to discuss Apple’s plan for weathering the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the company close almost all its stores worldwide. Cook conceded it was inevitable that Apple would be impacted, but remained confident it would bounce back.
“If we stay focused on doing what we do best, if we keep investing, if we manage the business wisely and make decisions collaboratively, if we take care of our teams, if our teams take care of their work, I don’t see any reason to be anything but optimistic,” Cook told his employees.
Cook stated that Apple was in a good financial position going into the crisis, and will continue investing in research and development during it. Apple will also continue to launch new products — as evidenced by Wednesday’s iPhone SE launch.
Chief operating officer Jeff Williams spoke about how the pandemic has highlighted the importance of Apple’s health gadgets. According to Williams, some countries are now accelerating assistance to Apple in rolling out the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram feature. The feature is currently not available in countries such as Australia and China.
However, Apple’s workforce won’t be completely insulated from the coronavirus crisis’ devastating impact on the economy. Though Cook noted Apple is still paying retail employees while its stores are closed, he acknowledged jobs may be cut as he focuses on the company’s long-term survival.
“I won’t tell you Apple won’t be impacted,” he said when asked about potential job losses.
Cook was unsure when Apple’s offices will reopen for those who have jobs to return to, but stated temperature checks and social distancing measures will likely be in place. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and People, added that flexible arrangements for returning to work will be available to those who need them, and employees will be reimbursed for unused vacation days for the rest of the year.
Sadly, that won’t be much use to those eventually laid off.
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