Apple's 'Worldwide Loyalty Team' ensures secrets stay secret

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Gizmodo highlights the story of Apple's 'Gestapo' Loyalty Team as relayed by a Cupertino employee known simply as Tom.



The story of Apple's "Worldwide Loyalty Team" starts simply: "Among some employees, they are known as the Apple Gestapo, a group of moles always spying in headquarters and stores, reporting directly to Jobs and Oppenheimer. Here's how they hunt people down."



With tongue implanted somewhat-in-cheek, Gizmodo relayed the harrowing tale Tuesday, of an Apple employee known by the name of Tom.



According to the source, Apple takes leaks very seriously. When a leak is suspected, a very specific protocol is followed, involving the confiscation of all cell phones and a total blackout of all unmonitored communication. "It is like a gag order, and if the employee does not want to participate they are basically asked to leave and never come back," says Tom.



"The same Worldwide Loyalty Team does many other things to keep everyone in check, from searching out the email history of every employee, to seeding fake images to catch potential leaks and diffuse the hype about some product introductions."



The story ends with a allusion to Apple's famous '1984' commerical, "I wonder if the special forces have ever chased anyone though the Infinite Loop campus, dressed in their full regalia: I wouldn't be surprised."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Gizmodo highlights the story of Apple's 'Gestapo' Loyalty Team as relayed by a Cupertino employee known simply as Tom.



    With tongue implanted somewhat-in-cheek, Gizmodo relayed the story Tuesday, of an Apple employee known by the name of Tom.



    The story of Apple's "Worldwide Loyalty Team" starts simply: "Among some employees, they are known as the Apple Gestapo, a group of moles always spying in headquarters and stores, reporting directly to Jobs and Oppenheimer. Here's how they hunt people down."



    According to the source, Apple takes leaks very seriously. When a leak is suspected, a very specific protocol is followed, involving the confiscation of all cell phones and a total blackout of all unmonitored communication. "It is like a gag order, and if the employee does not want to participate they are basically asked to leave and never come back," says Tom.



    "The same Worldwide Loyalty Team does many other things to keep everyone in check, from searching out the email history of every employee, to seeding fake images to catch potential leaks and diffuse the hype about some product introductions."



    The story ends with a allusion to Apple's famous '1984' commerical, "I wonder if the special forces have ever chased anyone though the Infinite Loop campus, dressed in their full regalia: I wouldn't be surprised."





    The secret's good with me Tom!
  • Reply 2 of 40
    Ahh the scales have fallen off of Jesus Diaz' eyes - he is disillusioned and bitter now that a disguntled and former employee alleges extreme security measures to stem leaks at Apple. "Tom" should count himself lucky to have had such a mild experience.



    Having worked on DARPA projects for a manufacturer, and having been involved in coding discovery material for a major litigation support firm, makes that look like a piece of cake compared to the draconian controls employed elsewhere. Most companies now have rapid response teams, and NDAs that are very tightly enforced. You don't like it you don't work for those firms. There are many that don't have these controls because much of what they do - like universities. You can usually be on the cutting edge of developing something without the crazy lock-down. But if the government takes an interest, that can change. And the down thread commentary is wonderful - read everything to the bitter end. It is both delightfully naif and shocking I tell you!
  • Reply 3 of 40
    ksecksec Posts: 1,494member
    Nice, Sounds like some 007 .....
  • Reply 4 of 40
    I work for the gov't. We get poly'd, and piss tested. This story, while scary to the outsider, is not even close to how it is in the real world.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Gizmodo highlights the story of Apple's 'Gestapo' Loyalty Team



    Prince/Dan has a more scathing reaction to the Gizmodo article at RoughlyDrafted.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Glockpop View Post


    Prince/Dan has a more scathing reaction to the Gizmodo article at RoughlyDrafted.



    Haha, that's hilarious. Dan really threw the toys out of the pram.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post


    I work for the gov't. We get poly'd, and piss tested. This story, while scary to the outsider, is not even close to how it is in the real world.



    i thought you worked for finland
  • Reply 8 of 40
    Way too many holes in that story.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    Duh? Gizmodo's article seems paid by Psystar. You see, you don't need to report to SJ in person to chase spooks.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Here's a real fact that Apple does employ such tactics and would give some credibility to this story. The excerpt came from a person who had worked for Apple corporate for nearly 20 years.



    To understand how Apple functions, you have to get over any assumptions that Apple employees are trusted at all. During my nearly twenty years at Apple, it was clear that as time went on any product problems or even solutions to serious issues were often kept from field sales employees. That was not the case in early years at Apple.



    Once Steve came back things changed, it seemed that we could never find out about critical issues from the company until they exploded publicly. We would only learn about problems by being beaten to a pulp by a customer, and after couple of people at Apple denied the existence of the problem. It almost goes without saying that we would then find out that the problem was well known in Cupertino, but being kept a secret so as not to cause any customer ripples.



    Actually I had my son who at the time was a Computer Science student in college sign up for the Apple Student Developer program. He would get the disks before we did, and I would take them to the office for our team.



    Usually we got the stuff we needed eventually, but when you have a customer with a critical problem and a new OS release can fix the issue, waiting five or six days can seem like forever.



    A good example of the company paranoia was when we participated in the 2001 FOSE (Federal Office Systems Expo) in Washington, a reporter named Dan Carney did an article for Federal Computer Week. The article "Not making a federal case," had this to say.



    Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates and Dell Computer Corp.'s Michael Dell are known to visit their federal customers to discuss the issues important to them. That has contributed to the success of both companies' products in the market. But Apple seems to view federal customers somewhat askance.



    Apple's federal team is dedicated to its task, but it appears it is not receiving the necessary support from the corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. To the obvious frustration of the federal team members, they were prohibited from speaking for this story.



    Instead, the company issued a statement describing the commitment of its federal sales force and the popularity of its products in the market.



    The reason no federal people were permitted to speak? Apple has approved spokespeople only for its core businesses: the consumer, commercial and education markets, according to the company.



    Well some folks from corporate PR absolutely flipped out over that comment and demanded to know which members of my team let the reporter know that people were frustrated. Had a name been given, I'm sure the person would have been on the carpet and likely fired.



    Carney had wanted to talk about the federal market and Apple after much arm twisting gave him a generic written statement about how wonderful Apple products are.



    Actually the reporter was the most frustrated person around since he had spent nearly two months begging to talk to someone about Apple products. I remember his pleading emails to us asking for help in getting someone to return his phone calls. He even told me that he believed they deliberately were calling him late at night so they wouldn't have to talk to him.



    Now ordinarily I wouldn't believe that, but being an Apple employee I've seen that tactic used on a regular basis by Cupertino employees who didn't want to talk to a real person. In fact one night I was working late in my home office. That, in case you haven't figured it out, happens a lot with dedicated Apple employees. My phone rang, and I answered it thinking that it was wife calling from upstairs to tell me that I should give it up for the night. It was someone from corporate hoping to leave me a message so they could dodge the real issue. They were nearly speechless when I answered the phone. I don't think it was the time that one of our contracts people called me and accused me of sending a photocopy of a contract instead of an original to headquarters. Apparently they had spit on the signature and were concerned that it didn't smear.



    If you get the feeling that Apple is a world unto itself, you're absolutely right. When you're inside the Apple culture it even looks kind of normal, but once outside of it, you realize how whacky and counterproductive much of it is.



    Giving Apple employees the tools, all the information, and the trust to do their jobs correctly should be a priority. It isn't. Now executive compensation, that's a top priority, but I guess most folks have figured that out by now.



    One of the most frustrating things that we had to endure was Cupertino sending seed units to the press. We were absolutely forbidden to help them understand the products if they ran into problems. The corporate folks were convinced that we would screw up the product review. Of course the opposite often happened. The reviewer would have problems getting the Mac connected to their network or trouble configuring Outlook. Calling back to California for help would be playing time zone roulette which rarely worked. The result was that many reviews could have been even better with a little field hand holding that was forbidden. The corporate view was that it was much better to let the reviewer figure out it himself as opposed to the risk that the field might say something that actually got printed after contact with the press.



    All of this is somewhat interesting as an aside on the culture of Apple. Secrecy within Apple even prompted a recent front page WSJ article, " At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life But Maintains Buzz."



    Yet the real challenges as some of the comments on "Think Secret" indicate is that Apple won't work with the users until they release a product. The result is that there are bugs that show up almost immediately in a new release.



    I am one of the people who believe that if Apple is to be taken seriously, they're going to have to start doing widespread public betas of OS X. If they don't, people are continually be frustrated with paying money for a product that faces a raft of updates in the first few months.



    I don't how anyone at Apple could seriously think a public beta of Leopard is going to spill the beans to Microsoft which is having a hard enough time getting anything out the door, much less something which stuff that Apple is showing.



    Apple also needs to take seriously customer support not just at the AppleCare level but at the level of every single Apple employee. Apple has so few employees that people (outside of California) almost freak out when they find out that you are an Apple employee. They immediately expect you to be able to help them with their Mac problems. That's pretty hard to do when your company is following the rules mushroom management.



    One of the more interesting facts about Apple employees is that they often get so frustrated waiting for new hardware which they can use for demonstrations to customers, that they end up buying Apple hardware out of their pocket. That's one of the reasons I have basement full of Macs.



    I have talked to a number of employees this year who had bought their own MacBook Pros or MacBooks because they were tired of waiting for the company to refresh their systems. I can remember one particular system engineer who has been with Apple almost from the beginning. He practically begged me to get him a boxed set of Final Cut Pro complete with documentation so he could demonstrate it to customers. In following what has to be the most counterproductive set of guidelines around, that request for one copy of Final Cut Pro which had an internal cost of almost nothing had to go all the way up to Phil Schiller for approval. Even funnier almost all requests like that were turned down.



    Ask an Apple employee where they get their Apple news, and a surprising number of them will say rumor sites. I can remember finding out about many a product that had been released on rumor sites before we got any information internally.



    If you're going to use Apple products, know that your best informed resource might well be someone other than an Apple employee.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    I think the secrecy is perfectly okay, and unless you play in an important role in whatever is being released then those are the only people who should know about it. Even if it's within your own company.



    (For example) If I have separate teams working on various projects with deadlines in mind. Why should the iPhone Team know about what the Mac Hardware team is doing? It's none of their business & more importantly it distracts from my employees getting their jobs done right



    Apple's management style is quite perfect. Some people just don't get it.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Glockpop View Post


    Prince/Dan has a more scathing reaction to the Gizmodo article at RoughlyDrafted.



    yeah, comparing this security team to nazi germany is very nearly outrageous. try working for the government or a military contractor.



    i know a person who has to pass armed guards to enter the office every day. how gizmodo can think apple's system is similar to a secret police force is beyond me.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    I didn't think these methods were extreme at all. Simple fact of NDA's. Don't like it? Quit.



    These folks who leak info are lucky they aren't fined into oblivion. I thought the comparison to Nazi hit squads was a bit tasteless though. Business is NOT a democracy. It's dog eat dog, bottom line, and about as anti-hippie as you can get.



    Bitter much?
  • Reply 14 of 40
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,529member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Glockpop View Post


    Prince/Dan has a more scathing reaction to the Gizmodo article at RoughlyDrafted.



    Quote:

    Jesus Diaz certainly isn?t the sharpest knife in the pundit drawer and has a particular attraction to writing up rabidly sensationalized blather as a master link-baiter



  • Reply 15 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post


    yeah, comparing this security team to nazi germany is very nearly outrageous. try working for the government or a military contractor.



    i know a person who has to pass armed guards to enter the office every day. how gizmodo can think apple's system is similar to a secret police force is beyond me.



    And now you know two. Well, know as well as an internet forum allows... Our guards are technically their own police force.



    While the analogy itself makes sense, the use of "Gestapo" wasn't a good choice.



    But I have to give it to Gizmodo for the picture from Raiders of the Last Ark and photoshopping the Apple logo onto his palm. That guy was...creepy.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Gizmodo highlights the story of Apple's 'Gestapo' Loyalty Team as relayed by a Cupertino employee known simply as Tom....



    Shame on AppleInsider for promoting this bullshit "story." Almost nothing Gizmodo implies here is true, everyone believes it, (judging by the comments), and now AppleInsider is joining in. This is how crappy Internet rumours get started. Shame on you.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MobileMe View Post


    Here's a real fact that Apple does employ such tactics and would give some credibility to this story. The excerpt came from a person who had worked for Apple corporate for nearly 20 years.



    To understand how Apple functions, you have to get over any assumptions that Apple employees are trusted at all. During my nearly twenty years at Apple, it was clear that as time went on any product problems or even solutions to serious issues were often kept from field sales employees. That was not the case in early years at Apple.



    Once Steve came back things changed, it seemed that we could never find out about critical issues from the company until they exploded publicly. We would only learn about problems by being beaten to a pulp by a customer, and after couple of people at Apple denied the existence of the problem. It almost goes without saying that we would then find out that the problem was well known in Cupertino, but being kept a secret so as not to cause any customer ripples.



    Actually I had my son who at the time was a Computer Science student in college sign up for the Apple Student Developer program. He would get the disks before we did, and I would take them to the office for our team.



    Usually we got the stuff we needed eventually, but when you have a customer with a critical problem and a new OS release can fix the issue, waiting five or six days can seem like forever.



    A good example of the company paranoia was when we participated in the 2001 FOSE (Federal Office Systems Expo) in Washington, a reporter named Dan Carney did an article for Federal Computer Week. The article "Not making a federal case," had this to say.



    Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates and Dell Computer Corp.'s Michael Dell are known to visit their federal customers to discuss the issues important to them. That has contributed to the success of both companies' products in the market. But Apple seems to view federal customers somewhat askance.



    Apple's federal team is dedicated to its task, but it appears it is not receiving the necessary support from the corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. To the obvious frustration of the federal team members, they were prohibited from speaking for this story.



    Instead, the company issued a statement describing the commitment of its federal sales force and the popularity of its products in the market.



    The reason no federal people were permitted to speak? Apple has approved spokespeople only for its core businesses: the consumer, commercial and education markets, according to the company.



    Well some folks from corporate PR absolutely flipped out over that comment and demanded to know which members of my team let the reporter know that people were frustrated. Had a name been given, I'm sure the person would have been on the carpet and likely fired.



    Carney had wanted to talk about the federal market and Apple after much arm twisting gave him a generic written statement about how wonderful Apple products are.



    Actually the reporter was the most frustrated person around since he had spent nearly two months begging to talk to someone about Apple products. I remember his pleading emails to us asking for help in getting someone to return his phone calls. He even told me that he believed they deliberately were calling him late at night so they wouldn't have to talk to him.



    Now ordinarily I wouldn't believe that, but being an Apple employee I've seen that tactic used on a regular basis by Cupertino employees who didn't want to talk to a real person. In fact one night I was working late in my home office. That, in case you haven't figured it out, happens a lot with dedicated Apple employees. My phone rang, and I answered it thinking that it was wife calling from upstairs to tell me that I should give it up for the night. It was someone from corporate hoping to leave me a message so they could dodge the real issue. They were nearly speechless when I answered the phone. I don't think it was the time that one of our contracts people called me and accused me of sending a photocopy of a contract instead of an original to headquarters. Apparently they had spit on the signature and were concerned that it didn't smear.



    If you get the feeling that Apple is a world unto itself, you're absolutely right. When you're inside the Apple culture it even looks kind of normal, but once outside of it, you realize how whacky and counterproductive much of it is.



    Giving Apple employees the tools, all the information, and the trust to do their jobs correctly should be a priority. It isn't. Now executive compensation, that's a top priority, but I guess most folks have figured that out by now.



    One of the most frustrating things that we had to endure was Cupertino sending seed units to the press. We were absolutely forbidden to help them understand the products if they ran into problems. The corporate folks were convinced that we would screw up the product review. Of course the opposite often happened. The reviewer would have problems getting the Mac connected to their network or trouble configuring Outlook. Calling back to California for help would be playing time zone roulette which rarely worked. The result was that many reviews could have been even better with a little field hand holding that was forbidden. The corporate view was that it was much better to let the reviewer figure out it himself as opposed to the risk that the field might say something that actually got printed after contact with the press.



    All of this is somewhat interesting as an aside on the culture of Apple. Secrecy within Apple even prompted a recent front page WSJ article, " At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life But Maintains Buzz."



    Yet the real challenges as some of the comments on "Think Secret" indicate is that Apple won't work with the users until they release a product. The result is that there are bugs that show up almost immediately in a new release.



    I am one of the people who believe that if Apple is to be taken seriously, they're going to have to start doing widespread public betas of OS X. If they don't, people are continually be frustrated with paying money for a product that faces a raft of updates in the first few months.



    I don't how anyone at Apple could seriously think a public beta of Leopard is going to spill the beans to Microsoft which is having a hard enough time getting anything out the door, much less something which stuff that Apple is showing.



    Apple also needs to take seriously customer support not just at the AppleCare level but at the level of every single Apple employee. Apple has so few employees that people (outside of California) almost freak out when they find out that you are an Apple employee. They immediately expect you to be able to help them with their Mac problems. That's pretty hard to do when your company is following the rules mushroom management.



    One of the more interesting facts about Apple employees is that they often get so frustrated waiting for new hardware which they can use for demonstrations to customers, that they end up buying Apple hardware out of their pocket. That's one of the reasons I have basement full of Macs.



    I have talked to a number of employees this year who had bought their own MacBook Pros or MacBooks because they were tired of waiting for the company to refresh their systems. I can remember one particular system engineer who has been with Apple almost from the beginning. He practically begged me to get him a boxed set of Final Cut Pro complete with documentation so he could demonstrate it to customers. In following what has to be the most counterproductive set of guidelines around, that request for one copy of Final Cut Pro which had an internal cost of almost nothing had to go all the way up to Phil Schiller for approval. Even funnier almost all requests like that were turned down.



    Ask an Apple employee where they get their Apple news, and a surprising number of them will say rumor sites. I can remember finding out about many a product that had been released on rumor sites before we got any information internally.



    If you're going to use Apple products, know that your best informed resource might well be someone other than an Apple employee.






    sounds about right



    Mac's are nice for home use but this is why corporations are going to stay away. Microsoft has been very open in the last few years to work with customers



    everyone releases buggy products but some of the ones that Apple released lately makes you wonder if they do any kind of QA
  • Reply 18 of 40
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    sounds about right



    Mac's are nice for home use but this is why corporations are going to stay away. Microsoft has been very open in the last few years to work with customers



    everyone releases buggy products but some of the ones that Apple released lately makes you wonder if they do any kind of QA



    I thought it was a load of tripe. Apple is consistently at the top of the charts for customer support, and quality. They are reaping huge profits in a depression.



    From my perspective, if I own Apple stock, I'd say they were doing it right, contrary to that huge post (I refuse to quote an entire page of text).
  • Reply 19 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Shame on AppleInsider for promoting this bullshit "story." Almost nothing Gizmodo implies here is true, everyone believes it, (judging by the comments), and now AppleInsider is joining in. This is how crappy Internet rumours get started. Shame on you.



    All that might have been true (Gizmodo is known to be providing sensational yet untrue accounts, though). Still, there's nothing wrong with those security enforcement measures. If your company gives you a phone, it usually means they expect you're using it in their favor. It's their phone after all.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    I thought it was a load of tripe. Apple is consistently at the top of the charts for customer support, and quality. They are reaping huge profits in a depression.



    From my perspective, if I own Apple stock, I'd say they were doing it right, contrary to that huge post (I refuse to quote an entire page of text).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    sounds about right



    Mac's are nice for home use but this is why corporations are going to stay away. Microsoft has been very open in the last few years to work with customers



    everyone releases buggy products but some of the ones that Apple released lately makes you wonder if they do any kind of QA



    This is where my text came from. He's worked for Apple up until 2006.http://viewfromthemountain.typepad.c...le_a_cult.html



    Really good reading material, he can appear bitter at times but it's well understood.



    My Personal opinion is that Apple does no wrong (It does have issues at times, but they solve them in an Apple way that works for everybody. )
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