In leaked memo, Tim Cook says leakers do not belong inside Apple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 22
Following leaks about his all-hands Apple meeting about pay equity, Tim Cook has told staff that the company does not "tolerate disclosures of confidential information."




Immediately after Apple's Sept. 17 all-hands meeting, Tim Cook's comments were leaked to the press. Subsequently, Cook issued a memo about his "frustration" at how confidential meetings, and product news, are being leaked.

That email has now also been leaked. It includes Cook saying that whether it's regarding a private meeting, or is a leaked detail about a product, "people who leak confidential information do not belong here."

The full email, as first seen by The Verge, reads:

Dear Team,

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.

Thank you,

Tim

Cook's claim that Apple is "doing everything in our power" to identify leakers is not new. As far back as 2012, Cook said that Apple was going to "double down" on secrecy and protecting its information.

Read on AppleInsider
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,782member
    Regarding the product leaks, I would think that the late stage product leaks are partially the result of needing to record all the presentations well in advance. That requires far more people to be involved than the in-person events. It all needs to be rehearsed, recorded, edited, reviewed and approved before the launch day. Many more people involved increases the likelihood of both intentional and accidental leaks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,776member
    I’m guessing someone couldn’t resist the irony about a confidential memo about the problem with leaks, getting leaked. 

    Hopefully the person who did that is still smiling when they’re looking for a new job.
    TheObannonFilerob53bshankcaladanianJWSCasdasdleavingthebiggbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 26
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,682member
    It amazes me how many people just can’t keep their mouths shut. During initial employment you sign a standard document saying you won’t disclose company information. How difficult is it to abide by the rules? I hope Apple throws the book at these people. 
    mike1robotthtasdasdleavingthebiggbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 26
    New product secrecy and IP are clearly very important to Apple. But Apple’s success has created a demand for advance product information unlike any other in any industry. A whole industry of predicting Apple’s product strategy has developed over the years. In many ways that’s a measure of just how successful Apple has been. Of course it’s not just the fan boys who want inside information. It’s also the Wall Street crowd. But Tim has to be careful. Creating a corporate culture that’s so locked down in the interest of protecting information can in fact stymie innovation, communication and colleagueality. I think leaks need to be an accepted reality of life at Apple. “Doubling down” is just a heavy hammer threat that may or may not produce the desired outcomes and could have unforeseen negative consequences. Apple needs to grow its disinformation capabilities vs. trying to plug all the leaks in the organization. As far as preventing the leaking of internal organizational information/emails/meeting notes, that too is mission impossible. In an organization with 150k employees you will never succeed in preventing external data transfer. You’ll never have 150k happy employees. So there will always be disgruntled staff who feel a need to share internal information with outsiders as a way of seeking retribution. Perhaps internal communication needs to be segmented and true open communication is an unattainable dream. Tim needs to manage to this reality.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,782member
    tedz98 said:
    New product secrecy and IP are clearly very important to Apple. But Apple’s success has created a demand for advance product information unlike any other in any industry. A whole industry of predicting Apple’s product strategy has developed over the years. In many ways that’s a measure of just how successful Apple has been. Of course it’s not just the fan boys who want inside information. It’s also the Wall Street crowd. But Tim has to be careful. Creating a corporate culture that’s so locked down in the interest of protecting information can in fact stymie innovation, communication and colleagueality. I think leaks need to be an accepted reality of life at Apple. “Doubling down” is just a heavy hammer threat that may or may not produce the desired outcomes and could have unforeseen negative consequences. Apple needs to grow its disinformation capabilities vs. trying to plug all the leaks in the organization. As far as preventing the leaking of internal organizational information/emails/meeting notes, that too is mission impossible. In an organization with 150k employees you will never succeed in preventing external data transfer. You’ll never have 150k happy employees. So there will always be disgruntled staff who feel a need to share internal information with outsiders as a way of seeking retribution. Perhaps internal communication needs to be segmented and true open communication is an unattainable dream. Tim needs to manage to this reality.
    There's a world of difference between rumors, speculation and guessing about Apple's plans based on various sources, suppliers and past history and an employee leaking specific, information about products in the weeks before a launch. There is no excuse for that nor should there be acceptance or tolerance of those leaks.

    jas99leavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26
    One way they could narrow it down is to send out memos that are written just *slightly* different and distribute those, like a textual watermark. But yeah, however much we like the insider news here, this is important to the health of the company that we love so dear. 
    jas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    mike1 said:
    tedz98 said:
    New product secrecy and IP are clearly very important to Apple. But Apple’s success has created a demand for advance product information unlike any other in any industry. A whole industry of predicting Apple’s product strategy has developed over the years. In many ways that’s a measure of just how successful Apple has been. Of course it’s not just the fan boys who want inside information. It’s also the Wall Street crowd. But Tim has to be careful. Creating a corporate culture that’s so locked down in the interest of protecting information can in fact stymie innovation, communication and colleagueality. I think leaks need to be an accepted reality of life at Apple. “Doubling down” is just a heavy hammer threat that may or may not produce the desired outcomes and could have unforeseen negative consequences. Apple needs to grow its disinformation capabilities vs. trying to plug all the leaks in the organization. As far as preventing the leaking of internal organizational information/emails/meeting notes, that too is mission impossible. In an organization with 150k employees you will never succeed in preventing external data transfer. You’ll never have 150k happy employees. So there will always be disgruntled staff who feel a need to share internal information with outsiders as a way of seeking retribution. Perhaps internal communication needs to be segmented and true open communication is an unattainable dream. Tim needs to manage to this reality.
    There's a world of difference between rumors, speculation and guessing about Apple's plans based on various sources, suppliers and past history and an employee leaking specific, information about products in the weeks before a launch. There is no excuse for that nor should there be acceptance or tolerance of those leaks.
    The 7 employees fired today at the Apple supplier should be a wake up call. They are actively hunting you and will eventually find a fire you. At that point you chances of getting another job in your field has been turned to rubbish, but there are some McDonald’s paying 13 dollars an hour to start. 

    I believe Tim and other leaders are going to have to stand up and lead. Employees are acting like they get to decide how a business is run. They don’t. If these people truly believe they could do a better job, they would go open their own company and see how that pans out. You never see the loud voices doing extraordinary things on their own. Why is that. 
    edited September 22 mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 26
    Security: You are doing it wrong. None of Apple's oppressive security is actually working. We knew exactly what the the new iPhone 13 looked like months ago just like we did with the iPhone 12 and every other iPhone since Tim Cook has been CEO. We knew about the 120Hz screen refresh rate, the new camera features, the 1TB storage option and just about every other new feature that was announced. This information appears to have leaked from overseas manufacturers. Apple's reaction is to crack down on its US employees by adding still more layers of security that only serve to make their jobs more difficult. Look at the recent patch that failed to actually fix the security vulnerability as it was intended. You have to wonder if that would have happened if employees on different teams could just talk to each about the issues?
    edited September 22 elijahgbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 26
    tedz98 said:
    So there will always be disgruntled staff who feel a need to share internal information with outsiders as a way of seeking retribution. 
    They might "feel the need", but when they actually go through with it they have violated their contract. 
    Why in the world would you continue to work somewhere that makes you unhappy and you're trying 
    to sabotage your company and undermine your co-workers?  Tim is so right, they don't belong there.
    mike1thtgregoriusmbaconstanganonconformistwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26
    When Apple sends confidential emails they should implement minor sentence structure differences that can be used to identify the individual who received it. Apple would write one email and an ML would generate multiple versions each with minor differences in sentence structure.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Tim Cook just needs to be careful that Apple doesn’t wind up being the real world personification of the crazed security apparatus found at Hooli in “Silicon Valley.” Security is important but Tim needs to make sure Apple doesn’t loose agility or innovation at the expense of security. Year to year updates to existing products are less of a security issue than brand new products. Software capabilities will overtake hardware capabilities as revenue continues to shift from devices to services. For most people it’s affordability that drives purchasing decisions vs. gee wiz new features of hardware.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,597member
    What got leaked that the world didn’t already know about?   Apple makes incremental changes to the products each year.  New processor possibly aside, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what they’re probably going to do. 

    Reaction to product updates (like on this site) has been pretty “meh” of late anyway, proving that there’s really not much of significance to leak. 

    It seems to me that the guesses that the analysts and pundits take creates enough noise that the leaks don’t really matter because one doesn’t know which is accurate. 

    Now if Apple was about to launch a new product line that we didn’t really have details about yet,  like an Apple robot or the Apple Car, I could understand wanting to maintain the highest level of secrecy before launch. But other than that, I have to question whether Apple’s obsession with security hurts them more than it helps them because of the internal lack of knowledge across groups that results. 

    This in no way excuses the behavior of the employees who leaked. 


    muthuk_vanalingamelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    rob53 said:
    It amazes me how many people just can’t keep their mouths shut. During initial employment you sign a standard document saying you won’t disclose company information. How difficult is it to abide by the rules? I hope Apple throws the book at these people. 
    I agree. I think the problem is their lack of understanding what NDA entails and what their responsibilities are - I don't think they understand the consequences if they violate NDA. 
    robotwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Apple should punish those to the fullest extent of the law. And for those of you complaining about high security, you don’t have to work there. Plenty of people are in line behind you. This really speaks to the values instilled in us by our parents first, then our culture. 

    If parents have no integrity, honesty, discipline and a good work ethic, this what you get. And it simply perpetuates with each generation. 

    And, there is no accountability whatsoever. I am in social work. If my clients screw up, they are accountable and know there are consequences. They are all dual-diagnosis clients. If they can understand the idea of accountability, there is absolutely no excuse to allow it in any other sector of the population. Period. 

    robotwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    If you are worried about people knowing the background behind "values driven work around climate change, racial equity, and privacy" maybe there is an issue there. Like it is all smoke and mirrors?
  • Reply 16 of 26
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,425member
    DAalseth said:
    I’m guessing someone couldn’t resist the irony about a confidential memo about the problem with leaks, getting leaked. 

    Hopefully the person who did that is still smiling when they’re looking for a new job.
    You say on a post whose content has leaked from Apple, and which the content of is about a leak, on a site whose existence is to post rumours and leaks from Apple. Irony much? Why are you here?
    baconstangMplsPbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 17 of 26
    zoetmb said:
    What got leaked that the world didn’t already know about?   Apple makes incremental changes to the products each year.  New processor possibly aside, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what they’re probably going to do. 

    Reaction to product updates (like on this site) has been pretty “meh” of late anyway, proving that there’s really not much of significance to leak. 

    It seems to me that the guesses that the analysts and pundits take creates enough noise that the leaks don’t really matter because one doesn’t know which is accurate. 

    Now if Apple was about to launch a new product line that we didn’t really have details about yet,  like an Apple robot or the Apple Car, I could understand wanting to maintain the highest level of secrecy before launch. But other than that, I have to question whether Apple’s obsession with security hurts them more than it helps them because of the internal lack of knowledge across groups that results. 

    This in no way excuses the behavior of the employees who leaked. 


    I think this year's leaks are more damaging than others. The year the iPhone will lose its camera bump, the year the eyebrow is going to disappear, the year under display fingerprint is going to be released, and the future iMacs to be made from a single sheet of glass. These seem to be coming from some senior at the company. I was ready to upgrade to iPhone 13 but after the leaks I decided to wait for 14.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    I was never one to search my parents' closets for upcoming birthday gifts or to surreptitiously open wrapped gifts early. 

    While it's entertaining to read and speculate here what might be coming down the Apple pipeline, I would not be unhappy if leaked info stopped coming. At least some of us who come here are just as interested to learn about current products and announced new things, including progress on beta tested software. The idle interest of enthusiasts generates some of the market for leaked information, to be sure, but the real market for it is less benign.

    Certainly competitors want to know, and information leaked through the press is almost as good as that derived through industrial espionage programs. Investors want to know what's coming, too. Not just long-term investors looking to balance portfolios, but also traders who can benefit from provoked volatility. This is one of the reasons I keep poking at the much-ballyhooed notes from Ming-Chi Kuo. The routine boosting of Kuo's reputation can certainly help his individual ego and fortunes, but it also can help manipulate markets and stock prices. Just a couple of days ago, Kuo expressed "critical concern" about future iPhone sales. The concern was entirely bogus, as he was simply projecting a return-to-mean in sales growth following the current year's surprisingly high boost. On the same day, AAPL stock dipped a few points, but is now climbing again. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but it is an interesting coincidence. A sharp "concern" raised by an over-hyped leaker-analyst, the stock dips, people buy, the stock recovers, people sell. 
    edited September 22 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    Security: You are doing it wrong. None of Apple's oppressive security is actually working. We knew exactly what the the new iPhone 13 looked like months ago just like we did with the iPhone 12 and every other iPhone since Tim Cook has been CEO. We knew about the 120Hz screen refresh rate, the new camera features, the 1TB storage option and just about every other new feature that was announced. This information appears to have leaked from overseas manufacturers. Apple's reaction is to crack down on its US employees by adding still more layers of security that only serve to make their jobs more difficult. Look at the recent patch that failed to actually fix the security vulnerability as it was intended. You have to wonder if that would have happened if employees on different teams could just talk to each about the issues?
    Another armchair CEO, yawn. What insider info do you have that employees on different teams can’t and don’t talk to each other? Oh yeah, none. 
    robotwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,018member
    One thing I find amazing about Apple is that they are able to keep a lot of the hardware under wraps so well before their official announcements. Take the iPhone for example: there are well over 100,000 people working on manufacturing and assembling them with third party suppliers in foreign countries and we don't see oodles of pictures and leaks before the release date. There are thousands of opportunities for those employees to divulge that information, and I'm certain that a lot of news sources are willing to pay reasonable amounts for verifiable information. A decent leak with drawings, specifications, and/or pictures could probably garner a year's pay for someone in one of those countries. I'm surprised we don't see one of the news sources with the actual hardware in hand a few months early.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.