Apple Laying Off Nearly 200 In Self-Driving Car Unit

Apple, the iPhone maker that’s been struggling with lackluster demand for its flagship product, is gearing up to slash its self-driving car workforce, letting go of 190 in the unit.

The San Francisco Chronicle, citing a letter to the California Employment Development Department sent by Apple, reported the layoffs are happening at Project Titan, its self-driving car unit. Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California iPhone maker, confirmed the letter sent to the state. CNBC reported in January that the layoffs were impacting staff in the self-driving car business, noted the report.

The majority of the people getting laid off are engineers, including 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers, and 22 software engineers. The job reductions go into effect as of April 16, noted the report.  

The layoffs come as Apple is dealing with a precipitous decline in demand for iPhones. According to the paper, revenue has declined 15 percent over the last quarter of 2018. Apple is suffering from an economic slowdown in China, smartphone replacement cycles that are getting extended and lower-end models that are stealing market share.  In an analyst report in January, Lynx Equity Strategies warned the sudden decline in demand for Apple’s iPhone is creating stress at the company, resulting in cost-cutting moves and some soul searching. The firm speculated then that the Project Titan self-driving car unit would be shuttered, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2016 the company reduced its headcount in the unit as it moved away from developing a vehicle to focus on software. Apple more recently inked a partnership with Volkswagen to convert Transporter vans into autonomous vehicles.

According to the paper, the layoffs at Apple cover eight offices and industrial properties in the area.  Apple is among the list of technology companies that is going after the self-driving vehicle market. It’s also facing competition from the car manufactures, which want a piece of the burgeoning market.


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