In an internal memo to employees, Apple threatened severe consequences for leaking confidential company information – reminding staff that those who leak can lose their jobs, have difficult finding future employment, and even get arrested. Last year, Apple claimed to have busted 29 leakers, 12 of whom were arrested. Apple has always cultivated a culture of confidentially about its work, as a means of maintaining a competitive advantage over the competition.
Given how large Apple has grown over the years – the memo says there are “135,000 people” working there – it’s become more difficult to keep things under wraps. By the time a new iPhone launches, for example, people already know what to expect. That can give rivals a head start on catching up with Apple, ahead of an actual public unveiling of the device. Leaks can also impact sales of current devices, as consumers hold off on buying as they know something better is soon to arrive.
Apple more recently has had problems with leaked iOS source code, as well as leaked details about the iPhone 8 and X, Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, HomePod, and more. And that was just in 2017.
The new memo is not the first time Apple has tried to plug its leaks. Last year, the company held a meeting with employees where it discussed how it plans to prevent leaks, talked about how leakers were caught, and answered employees’ questions.
That meeting was secretly recorded and leaked to the press too. In reality, some leaks can be harder to track or stop. A company-wide meeting or email, for instance, could be leaked by anyone. The memo then goes on to stress how damaging leaks are to the company itself, those who worked on a project, and other employees.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, and personal computers to consumers, and small and mid-sized businesses; and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide.