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I'm not sure what flaw you found in what he wrote, or why even ask.

Obviously it's not the absolute number (50k) that counts, but how it's distributed. (And those 50k are not even all programmers).

If you do an OS, a mobile version of it, an embedded version of it, your own language, several huge SDKs, your own mail app, your own calendar app, you own spreadsheet, your own word processor, a TV appliance, the biggest mobile app store on the planet, your own logic board and CPU designs, the biggest music store on the planet, another large desktop app store, your own DAW, your own NLE, your own compositor, your own broswer, your own javascript engine, your own AI, your own Maps, and several other things besides, then no, "50k" might not be enough.

Microsoft has 5000 programmers just for Office.

The flaw is that when you have 50k employees, you have much greater flexibility and resources with regard to human resources (and likely almost every other resource) to move around than a company with 200 employees.

Additionally, we are invited to "Contrast that with Google which has 72k employees". So, Google, which has almost exactly 20% more employees (after removing all retail and help center Apple employees), is supposed to be so much different, and an example of a large company? At least the comparison to Microsoft has more than a doubling of employees.

The argument that Apple works the way they do because they run their teams lean is fine, but let's not start acting like they're not a large company just because their culture is intentionally different in some aspects.

Edit: To be clear, by objection is to the premise "Apple is not a big company." which was the leading statement of the comment I replied to.

A company with 50,000 employees in its corporate office(s) is huge. Saying another huge company is a bit larger and therefore this company is no longer huge is nonsense. Also, that a common range for defining "mid-sized" companies is under 1,000 employees should hint that Apple is beyond large. Here's a nice summary on how SBA and some companies classify other organizations:


Businesses with thousand or more employees are so rare as percent of the whole that they deserve their own category anyway. As in, what you say about them wouldn't apply to businesses in general and vice versa.

SpaceX has 5000 employees and they design, build, launch, and LAND rockets.

A much easier feat than having to deal with retail customers in shopping malls. Physics is much more rational.

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