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January 19, 2022

Inside the hostile, secretive work environment at Apple

As a company, few enjoy the kind of PR Apple does.

Well, okay, every once in a while there’s a terrible tale of suicides or employee mistreatment at the tech maker’s Chinese factories, but all in all it’s “Look how many people lined up for the iPad 2!” rather than “Oh, look how the iPad 2 is actually made.”

Though in the wake of the still-gushing news reports over Steve Jobs, here’s a bit of a drag on the good vibes at Apple.

According to a new book, working at Apple, which is being described as a house of “secrecy, stealth and discipline,” is a generally lousy affair, and several past and present workers at its California headquarters have had no qualms blasting their employer.

Hitting book shelves Jan. 22 will be Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works, the new tell-all from Adam Lashinsky, Fortune’s senior editor-at-large.

*Bing: How much does Apple's CEO earn each year?

Drawing from sources culled during years of reporting on Silicon Valley, Lashinsky paints a portrait of a hostile environment inside Apple, one where employees routinely fear the secretive atmosphere of the Cupertino company.

“Quite likely you have no idea what is going on, and it’s not like you’re going to ask,” Lashinsky writes. “If it hasn’t been disclosed to you, then it’s literally none of your business.”

In defence of Apple, of course, this is certainly the name of the game. For a brand that operates under such a shroud of anticipation, keeping products and initiatives quiet isn’t just a way of doing business, it’s good  business. It’s why Apple has become the most dominant name in the consumer world.

Simply for workers, though, it’s no fun, and the depths Apple goes to maintain its culture of need-to-know are great. According to an excerpt from the book, carpenters often arrive at Apple and erect new rooms out of the blue, complete with frosted windows and full security protocols.

“If you’re a die-hard Apple geek, it’s magical,” one source told Lashinsky. “It’s also a really tough place to work.”

Surely, there will be a faction that maintains Apple’s alleged military atmosphere is why it succeeds, but it appears to fly right in the face of other successful tech companies like Google and Facebook, names that revel in employee perks and laid-back cultures that appear to attribute directly to each business’ triumph.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*MetropolisMag.com photo



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...