A memo from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) warning employees to stop leaking internal information has leaked to the media. The sternly worded memo was posted to an internal Apple message board. It’s unclear when it was posted. The company declined to comment on the memo.
Apple has a long history of trying to tightly control information about its product development and culture. Apple is also well-known for not divulging any information about upcoming products before they launch. That has made the company an attractive target for the media, which can often claim sources within the company for their scoops. In 2017, the issue became so rampant that Apple held a confidential meeting with employees in a bid to stop leaks.
The company memo says, “Leaking Apple’s work undermines everyone at Apple and the years they’ve invested in creating Apple products.” The memo reminded employees to “remember that you’re getting played” and that a “scoop about an unreleased Apple product can generate massive traffic for a publication and financially benefit the blogger or reporter who broke it.” Leaks can be especially damaging for technology companies, giving rivals more time to respond competitively and negatively impacting sales of current models.
In the leaked memo, Apple outlined recent situations in which information was leaked to the media. Examples included a yet-to-be-released software package containing unreleased iPhone X and new Apple Watch details and information about the delay of some planned iPhone software features. In the memo, Apple credits its own “investments” and digital forensics for helping it catch leakers. The memo also raised the possibility of potential legal action and criminal charges against employees found to be leaking information.
In the memo, the company said that “people who leak, whether they’re Apple employees, contractors or suppliers, do get caught and they’re getting caught faster than ever.” The memo claims that the company “caught 29 leakers” last year and that 12 of those were arrested. Among those were Apple employees, contractors and some partners in Apple’s supply chain.