Apple Health team hit with departures as internal tensions rise

Apple's Health app icon

Despite the fact that health has become a major focal point for Apple, and the segment has become one of the company’s most popular elements baked into its products, a new report states that things aren’t all rainbows and butterflies.

CNBC has a detailed report that outlines some major departures from the Apple Health team over the last several months. The rift appears to be over the direction of Apple’s health push. As it stands right now, Apple Health has focused on features built into the iPhone and Apple Watch, but some of the members of the Apple Health team think there is room to expand.

Tension has been increasing in the health care team in recent months, according to eight people familiar with the situation, although that undercurrent started several years ago. Some employees have become disillusioned with the group’s culture, where some have thrived while others feel sidelined and unable to move their ideas forward. Four of the eight noted that some employees hoped to tackle bigger challenges with the health care system, such as medical devices, telemedicine and health payments. Instead the focus has been on features geared to a broad population of healthy users.

Apple’s Health team has lost some important individuals recently, including Christine Eun who worked for the company for eight years, but who left this month. There are others:

Brian Ellis, who left the the team overseeing AC Wellness, a subsidiary that operates health clinics for Apple employees, and went back to Apple Music in June; and Matt Krey, who left Apple in May and is taking time to focus on his family, according to LinkedIn.

Regulators, researchers, engineers, and many others have also departed the Apple Health team recently as well.

Jeff Williams is who the Health team reports to, and the report states that he was a driving force to propel the Apple Watch towards a health-focused future. (And towards cellular connectivity, too.) However, an internal employee morale survey didn’t show all that positive of results.

This year, an employee morale survey in the Health team showed signs of discontent, two people said. After the survey,Williams personally spoke with several employees to figure out the source of problem, and expressed he remains deeply committed to the health group. As the COO, however, he has many other duties, including overseeing Apple’s operations and supply chain.

The full report is worth checking out. And while this does indicate that Apple Health may be in some rocky waters, it doesn’t suggest that Apple will give up on the effort anytime soon. In fact, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has made it perfectly clear that health is one of the company’s major focal points moving forward and could be its biggest contribution to humanity.

Do you like the health features that Apple has baked into its products over the last few years?