Apple Inc. (AAPL) has warned its employees to stop leaking internal information on future plans and raised the threat of potential legal action and criminal charges against such actions—that's according to a leaked post from the company's internal blog. The lengthy memo marks the smartphone maker's most aggressive push to control information about its activities, as leaks can make or break its share price on any given day. (See also: Apple Working on Foldable iPhone for 2020: BofA.)
Problems Include Leaks About Leaks
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant indicated that it caught 29 leakers this year, 12 of whom were arrested.
"These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere," read the post. The tech titan outlined various instances wherein information was leaked to the media, including last month's firing of an employee responsible for leaking details from a confidential meeting about Apple's software roadmap. Last September, leaks worked to outshine a highly anticipated company update on its newest iPhone model, which turned out to be the iPhone X, after months of speculation. The information released just days before Apple's new product launch also included information about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8S models based on leaked copies of new iOS 11 software.
The actions of one employee have proven capable of impacting the company significantly, not just in terms of overall morale, but more so as far as the hedge it can offer competitors and the immediate impact it can have on sales of current product models.
News of Apple's more intense threat to leakers comes as the firm saw the spotlight taken away from the launch of its new red iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, part of a (PRODUCT)RED lineup of devices, which contribute to donations to fight AIDS. Last week, the media honed in on a Bloomberg report suggesting that Apple has been forced to lower its HomePod smart speaker sales forecast on weaker-than-expected demand for the device, which competes against Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Alexa-powered smart home products. Last week, the iPhone maker was hit with an order to pay $502 million to security vendor VirnetX Holding Corp. (VHC) as a result of a drawn-out patent infringement case. (See also: Why You Should Buy Apple, Dump Amazon and Facebook.)