Apple Kills Off Its Router Division, Reassigns Employees To Stuff That Sells

Image courtesy of Greg Wagoner

Once upon a time, at the dawn of the WiFi age, Apple’s AirPort Base Station was a not-ugly plug-and-play option for computer users looking to untether from ethernet cables. In spite of having got off to such a great start, Apple’s router business has sagged since — and now it’s being put out to pasture.

When the AirPort suite of wireless cards and routers hit the market in the late ’90s, the idea that you could be online without a wire was new enough that people at the 1999 MacWorld expo at least pretended to be impressed when Steve Jobs was able to stay online while passing a brightly colored iBook through a hula hoop.

Today, WiFi is everywhere, and your internet service provider probably provides a router to you that’s part of your modem. What was a pretty small part of Apple’s business has become even smaller. Apple hasn’t made any changes to its line of routers since 2013, when the AirPort line was already behind lower-priced competitors.

Bloomberg Technology explains that Apple reports router sales under an “other products” category that account for about 5% of the company’s total sales. Another product reported in that category is the Apple Watch.

Apple also recently gave up another product line that was overpriced, behind the competition, and not really of interest to customers: its line of external monitors, the newest of which was the Thunderbolt display.

Bloomberg’s source says that the router division was being slowly shut down over the last year or so, with its engineers reassigned to growing products like the Apple TV.