Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Layoffs Are Last Resort, But 'You Can Never Say Never'

Zinger Key Points
  • Apple has added employees at a much slower clip than those companies during the pandemic.
  • Apple has about 65,000 retail employees working in more than 500 stores, making up roughly 40% of the company’s workforce.

As many tech giants have been executing an unprecedented level of layoffs, Apple Inc AAPL has managed to avoid major job cuts even though it missed expectations for several of its lines of business announced during its first-quarter earnings.

The iPhone maker announced its first quarterly revenue, which declined for the first time in nearly four years, with revenue of $117.2 billion that missed analyst expectations of $121.1 billion.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there are ways to reduce costs, and that layoffs aren’t the only answer. 

“I view layoffs as a last resort kind of thing,” Cook said. “You can never say never. We want to manage costs in other ways to the degree that we can.”

Cook added that the company is managing costs very tightly and is curtailing hiring in certain areas while continuing to hire in others.

Also Read: Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Staring At A Big Pay Cut In 2023

With the present volatile economic condition, Apple has been cautious while managing its resources. 

The company added employees at a much slower clip than other tech companies during the pandemic. It also tends to run lean, with limited employee perks, and businesses focused on hardware products, reports WSJ. 

Apple’s workforce grew by about 20% to approximately 164,000 full-time employees from its fiscal year-end in September 2019 to September 2022. Around the same period, the employee count at, Inc doubled, and Microsoft Corp’s rose 53%. 

Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc and Meta Platform Inc saw their employee counts increase by 57% and 94%, respectively.  

According to the report, Apple has about 65,000 retail employees working in more than 500 stores, making up roughly 40% of the company’s workforce.

Apple's last leg of major layoffs occurred in 1997, when co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company, which then cut costs by firing 4,100 employees.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Tom Forte, senior research analyst at investment bank D.A. Davidson & Co., saying that “he expects Apple to reduce headcount, but it might do that quietly through employee attrition—by not replacing workers who leave.”

Earlier this year, Amazon announced another round of layoffs affecting 18,000 employees. In addition, Microsoft has announced that it will let go of 10,000 employees, and Google disclosed plans to cut 12,000 jobs.  

Photo: Shutterstock

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