Apple AI Team In San Diego To Be Dissolved, Employees Face Termination Or Relocation: Report

In a significant move, Apple Inc. AAPL has decided to reportedly disband a 121-member team in San Diego, California, that is dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) operations.

What Happened: The company has given the employees the option to either relocate to Austin, Texas, or face termination by Apr. 26, according to a Bloomberg report on Sunday. The AI team, known as Data Operations Annotations, was informed about the decision on Wednesday.

The team members were told that they would face termination in April if they decided not to relocate by the end of February. The San Diego AI team, which also has offices in China, India, Ireland, and Spain, is responsible for enhancing Siri’s performance by evaluating its understanding and handling of voice queries.

See Also: Apple Preps ‘Most Sophisticated Sales Pitch Ever’ For Vision Pro Debut On Feb. 2 With Demo Lasting 25 Minutes, Says Gurman, While Highlighting One Key Issue

The decision to close the San Diego team was communicated by Christine DeFilippo, a top deputy to Apple’s AI chief, John Giannandrea, the report added. The affected team members, who were anticipating a move to a new Apple campus in San Diego, are now expected to move to Texas instead. Most of the employees have expressed their unwillingness to relocate to Austin.

Why It Matters: The move by Apple to dissolve its AI team in San Diego comes at a crucial time for the company. Apple is set to launch its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset in the U.S. on Feb. 2, with pre-orders beginning on Jan. 19.

The decision to relocate the AI team comes at a time when Apple has managed to avoid significant layoffs despite missing analyst expectations for several lines of business announced during its first-quarter earnings.

In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook had then stated that there are ways to reduce costs and that layoffs aren’t the only answer. The decision to relocate the AI team might be considered a cost-saving measure or a strategic shift in the company’s AI operations.

Read Next: Microsoft Back On Top, Dethrones Apple As World's Most Valuable Company

Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

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