Internal conflicts and disagreements over at Apple’s health team caused some employees, including high-profile personalities, to leave the company, a report claims.
According to CNBC, eight anonymous people familiar with the inner workings at Apple’s health team say that the team has been suffering from increased tension in the recent months. This tension, however, didn’t start that easily; the report states that it’s a problem that took years in the making.
Four of the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said some employees in Apple’s health team wanted to tackle challenges in health care, namely: medical devices, telemedicine, and health payments.
The team’s leadership, on the other hand, wanted to focus on features geared for a larger number of users. This caused some employees to feel disillusioned and discouraged over being unable to move their ideas forward.
What happened, exactly?
Apple has been very vocal about its health agenda, and has followed through with their talk by putting health-centric features on their current wearable, the Apple Watch. Despite the Cupertino tech giant’s focus on health, however, some employees believe that the company can do more when it comes to health.
Four of CNBC’s sources said Apple could be taking on more “ambitious” health projects. One group in particular wanted to introduce a telemedicine service, as well as a health payment service meant to simplify insurance billing. Other employees wanted to look into what the company can do with sleep tracker Beddit, which Apple acquired in 2017.
Apple, however, wanted to focus on “wellness” and “prevention” instead of putting efforts on medical applications. The company wanted to focus on those who are generally Healthy, helping them with meditation, exercise and sleep. Wellness is less risky compared to diagnosing and treating health problems, and is also less regulated.
These differences in opinion –as well as the apparent lack of long-term vision– created divisions inside the company’s health team, ultimately leading some employees to part ways with Apple.
Disagreements over whether Apple subsidiary AC Wellness and its functions, for example, caused a small team led by Cupertino veteran Jason Fass to leave AC Wellness in 2017.
Other departures include Anil Sethi, a former Apple Health director who left to from a health startup; Stephen Friend, a top researcher who left Apple in 2017; Charles Schlaff, who worked on Apple Watch before leaving in 2018; and Yoky Matsouka, who was supposed to lead Apple’s health team but left in 2016.