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Apple to close this 121-member unit, move could affect India too. Here’s how

Apple is shutting a 121-person, San Diego-based unit that undertakes artificial intelligence (AI)-related operations, with the development likely to leave several team members unemployed.

Apple Inc. logo (REUTERS)

The group, known as Data Operations Annotations, was informed on Wednesday about the company’s decision; members have been asked to relocate to Austin, Texas, and merge with the team performing the same operations there.

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“Data Operations Annotations team in the US are being brought together at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based. Everyone currently employed will have the opportunity to continue their role with Apple at Austin,” a company spokeswoman said, confirming the tech giant’s relocation decision.

She added that Apple, however, remains ‘deeply committed to San Diego,’ where it has grown ‘significantly.’ Both Cupertino, where the Tim Cook-led firm is headquartered, and San Diego, are in California.

The offer

The iPhone maker has given staffers time till February-end to decide whether they will relocate or not. Those who reject the offer will be terminated by April 26. Most workers, however, are unwilling to shift, as per reports.

People who accept the offer will be moved by the end of June, and receive $7000 as a stipend. The ones who reject, on the other hand, will be laid off, get four weeks of severance (plus an additional week for every year worked) and health insurance for six months.

The Data Operations Annotations unit

The group is responsible for improving Siri, the in-house voice assistant, by listening to queries to the voice service and determining if the assistant heard and handled questions accurately. It focuses on Siri use in Hebrew, English, Spanish (multiple dialects), Portuguese, Arabic, and French.

Besides the US, the unit has offices in China, India, Ireland, and Spain too.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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