As Apple’s influence continues to grow, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep tidbits about the company’s moves and secrets about unreleased products from leaking out. And now, Tim Cook in a (leaked) memo to employees writes the company is working hard to track down those who leak confidential information, saying those people “do not belong” at Apple.
- Tim Cook issues a company-wide memo to troops about the leaks
- Leaking confidential information is a fireable offense at most companies
- Cook warns those who leak secrets to the press do not belong at Apple
Tim Cook’s memo to troops about workers who leak memos
The Verge got hold of a recent company-wide memo Cook sent to Apple employees, in which he talks about the leaks in general while specifically focusing on two instances of recent leaks.
The first leak revealed information about a company-wide meeting that concluded Apple would be requiring frequent COVID testing for unvaccinated employees. Another leak that also ended up being widely reported focused on Cook’s internal comment when he said that he was “looking forward to moving forward” after the Epic v. Apple antitrust case.
Here’s the Cook memo in its entirety:
It was great to connect with you at the global employee meeting on Friday. There was much to celebrate, from our remarkable new product line-up to our values driven work around climate change, racial equity and privacy. It was a good opportunity to reflect on our many accomplishments and to have a discussion about what’s been on your mind.
I’m writing today because I’ve heard from so many of you were were incredibly frustrated to see the contents of the meeting leak to reporters. This comes after a product launch in which most of the details of our announcements were also leaked to the press.
I want you to know that I share your frustration. These opportunities to connect as a team are really important. But they only work if we can trust that the content will stay within Apple. I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who leaked. As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it’s product IP or the details of a confidential meeting. We know that the leakers constitute a small number of people. We also know that people who leak confidential information do not belong here.
As we look forward, I want to thank you for all you’ve done to make our products a reality and all you will do to get them into customers’ hands. Yesterday we released iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8, and Friday marks the moment when we share some of our incredible new products with the world. There’s nothing better than that. We’ll continue to measure our contributions in the lives we change, the connections we foster and the work we do to leave the world a better place.
Cook is clearly upset by Apple’s internal memos being widely reported by the media. In this particular case, Cook has zeroed in on the two aforementioned company memos that have leaked out. Apple is no stranger to the far more damaging types of leaks where the world is treated to regular scoops and secrets that reveal various aspects of unreleased products.
Is there anything Apple can do to stop the leaks?
Cook is right to say that “people who leak confidential information do not belong” at Apple. But what’s he going to do about it? With the behemoth of a company that Apple has become, keeping a close eye on potential internal leakers is easier said than done.
Apple does expect employees to follow its Business Conduct Policy that explains in very clear terms how workers are expected to conduct themselves with Apple’s customers, business partners, government agencies and other employees. “We expect every Apple employee to understand and comply with these rules,” it reads.
A few years after taking over as the CEO of Apple in 2011, Cook reportedly said that Apple was doubling down on leaks. A memo that leaked back in 2018 revealed the great lengths the company goes to sniff out those who leak confidential information.