Apple Team Faces Relocation Challenges: 121 Employees to Move to Austin

By Consultants Review Team Monday, 15 January 2024

Apple has made a surprising announcement to close its Data Operations Annotations team, a group of 121 employees in San Diego primarily dedicated to advancing the company's artificial intelligence operations, specifically in improving Siri through voice service inquiries. The team, initially composed of contractors listening to Siri queries, transitioned to full-time employees in 2019 as listening became optional for customers. Responsible for diverse languages like Hebrew, English, various Spanish dialects, Portuguese, Arabic, and French, the team has been asked to relocate to Austin and integrate with Apple's Texas division.

This decision to relocate was communicated by a senior deputy to Apple's AI chief, John Giannandrea, and later confirmed by the company. Apple states that the move aims to "bring together our Data Operations Annotations teams in the US at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based." However, it has left many employees in San Diego surprised and uncertain about their future.

While Apple affirms its commitment to San Diego, employees are faced with a tough decision – relocate to Austin by the end of February or risk being terminated by April 26. The move has stirred concerns among employees, who had earlier expected to be relocated to a new Apple campus in the region by January's end. Instead, they are now confronted with the prospect of moving to Texas.

Several employees have expressed reluctance to move to Austin, citing concerns about their limited technical experience potentially hindering their job prospects. Although Apple has informed staff members that they can apply for other positions within the company, details about the available opportunities remain unclear.

To facilitate the transfer, Apple is offering a $7,000 relocation compensation for employees choosing to move to Austin before the end of June. However, for those declining the offer, their roles will be terminated, and they will receive severance pay based on their length of service along with six months of health insurance. The situation highlights the challenges and uncertainties employees face when confronted with sudden relocations and organizational changes within a company.

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