Are all those young people staffed by Apple to help out customers at Genius Bars the most qualified for the job, or is there something more pernicious, like actual age discrimination, at play? As the New York Times reports in a story on ageism in the workplace, JK Scheinberg, the engineer who pioneered Apple's move to Intel processors in its Macs, retired in 2008 at the age of 54; Gizmodo calls him "legendary" within the company. But, a little restless and looking for a way to pass the time, he applied for a Genius Bar customer service job and all three of his interviewers singled him out to say they'd be in touch. When, as the Times writes, "he didn’t hear anything immediately, and he says that he called to follow up." Scheinberg finally got an email "some days later to set up a second interview," but "he stopped pursuing the opportunity."
Apple Insider says ageism is a widespread problem. In 2010, 60-year-old Michael Katz sued Apple for promoting younger and less qualified individuals for "creatives" at a store he worked at in Orlando, while a range of tech companies from Twitter and Google to Microsoft and Facebook have all faced lawsuits. Mark Zuckerberg once famously said that "young people are just smarter," while a Sun Microsystems cofounder said when he was 55 that "people over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas." (One man suing for ageism accused his judge of being too old.)