Apple will slow down its hiring in some divisions after holiday iPhone sales came in lower than expected, according to a report from Bloomberg. That’s not quite as severe as a full-blown hiring freeze and far from layoffs. But it does indicate the company that was, just six months ago, valued at over a trillion dollars is entering a period of financial uncertainty, as the success of the iPhone has begun to visibly falter.
Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed the hiring slowdown to employees in a meeting earlier this month, Bloomberg reports. Cook reportedly elaborated that he had not decided which divisions would hire less employees, but did say that Apple’s artificial intelligence team would continue to aggressively expand its headcount. While Cook didn’t specifically call out the marketing team, Bloomberg reported in December that Apple had shifted some of its marketing team’s focus onto the iPhone and away from other projects.
Two weeks ago, Cook warned investors in a letter that Apple’s first-quarter earnings were likely to be weaker than expected, as fewer consumers bought Apple’s new, pricier iPhones. Following a discounted battery upgrade program launched in December 2017 as a result of the throttling debacle, many customers opted to replace their batteries instead of buying new phones, a factor Cook cited as contributing to weak iPhone sales. Earlier this week, we learned that the number of battery replacements might have been as high as 11 million. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.