A new book out today called Always Day One takes a look at the inner workings of the tech giants and what they do to “stay on top.” Of particular note when it comes to Apple, the book interviewed several former employees from the company’s IS&T group who described it as a “Game of Thrones nightmare” and that there’s a “Cold War going on everyday.”
BuzzFeed shared some exclusive excerpts from the book today written by BuzzFeed News reporter Alex Kantrowitz:
A group inside Apple called Information Systems & Technology, or IS&T, builds much of the company’s internal technology tools — from servers and data infrastructure to retail and corporate sales software — and operates in a state of tumult.
IS&T is made up largely of contractors hired by rival consulting companies, and its dysfunction has led to a rolling state of war. “It’s a huge contractor org that handles a crazy amount of infrastructure for the company,” one ex-employee who worked closely with IS&T told me. “That whole organization is a Game of Thrones nightmare.”
Other inside accounts describe the contract workers as “disposable parts” and that “There’s a Cold War going on every single day.”
Interviews with multiple former IS&T employees and its internal clients paint a picture of a division in turmoil, where infighting regularly prevents the creation of useful software, and whose contract workers are treated as disposable parts.
“There’s a Cold War going on every single day,” Archana Sabapathy, a former IS&T contractor who did two stints in the division, told me. Sabapathy’s first stint at IS&T lasted more than three years, the second only a day. Inside the division, she said, contracting companies such as Wipro, Infosys, and Accenture are constantly fighting to fill roles and win projects, which are handed out largely on the basis of how cheaply they can staff up to Apple’s needs.
Even public information on the website Quora given in response to questions about Apple’s IS&T group detail it as “soul sucking” with work quality compared to a “high schooler’s or a fresh undergraduate.”
Another person on Quora said of their time at IS&T “I wanted to share my experience with working in IS&T. Trust me, when I say — this department is worse than most IT sweatshops in India that you have heard of that are a bad place to work for Engineers.”
On Quora, a popular question and answer site among Silicon Valley types, the question, “How is the work culture at the IS&T division of Apple?” has elicited some unbelievable responses. “The engineering quality is extremely lackluster,” says the top answer, written by an anonymous user who says they worked at IS&T. “When I first joined, I was absolutely SHOCKED to see how projects were designed and developed. If you compare the code quality to that of a high schooler’s or a fresh undergraduate, you seriously will not be able to distinguish between the two.” I ran this by a former IS&T full-time employee, who said it was accurate.
The next answer on Quora is even darker. “I wanted to share my experience with working in IS&T. Trust me, when I say — this department is worse than most IT sweatshops in India that you have heard of that are a bad place to work for Engineers,” it reads. “From the day I joined to the day I quit from this department to another, everyday was soul sucking and made me curse my life for joining this department.”
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