Apple announced plans for a new US campus, but notably
did not say where it would be located.
Apple’s announcement comes a few months after Amazon
invited cities to submit bids and compete for the privilege of
hosting the company’s second headquarters.
Apple has not openly solicited bids or tax breaks, but
history suggests it will reap many such financial
Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking a page out of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’
Apple announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it
plans to build a new campus in the United States, as part of an
effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five
Where will the new campus go? Apple said only that it will be
announced later this year, and declined to comment if it already
had a location in mind.
The whole process sounds a lot like Amazon’s process for what it
in which the e-commerce giant solicited bids from American cities
for where it should spend an estimated $5 billion build a new,
second headquarters for 50,000 employees.
But while Amazon openly invited a bidding war, with 50 cities
whose officials are preparing packages of tax breaks and other
perks for the tech company, Apple didn’t comment on whether it
was soliciting bids or planned to have municipalities compete for
the new campus.
It’s not Apple’s style to do a public contest — but given that
238 different bids from cities, it’s safe to say that there
are some economic development agencies putting together packages
for Cook and Apple.
Apple is no stranger to state tax breaks
Apple is no stranger to the game of getting tax breaks in
exchange for creating jobs.
So it won’t be surprising if Apple’s new campus has a special tax
status negotiated with state or local governments — even if Apple
isn’t holding a public auction of sorts, the way Amazon is.
Here’s a short, incomplete list of recent tax breaks Apple has
received in the past decade:
Although Axios reports that Apple isn’t “putting out a big
request for proposals,” given that some municipalities are
putting together packages worth
as much as $7 billion in tax incentives for Amazon, Apple
would be irresponsible not to see what city and state governments
are willing to pay for Apple’s shingle.
These are unlikely to be high-paying software jobs
When Amazon announced HQ2, it said that it expected its new
offices to be a “full equal” to its current Seattle campus.
Apple’s new campus won’t be its “second campus” and is unlikely
to rival its current headquarters, at 1 Infinite Loop, or its new
$5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, both in Cupertino,
In fact, Apple already has several large campuses around the
country, including satellite offices scattered around Silicon
Valley and a big network of offices in Austin, Texas.
The jobs available at this new campus are unlikely to be
high-skilled programming jobs making the next iPhone that come
with huge salaries often found in California. Apple likes to do
its engineering and design close to home in California, both for
reasons of security as well as work culture.
As Apple noted in its announcement, the new campus will initially
house “technical support for customers.” Much of that work is
currently done in Austin, Texas, as reported
by the New York Times in late 2016.
The Austin campus, perhaps the closest analog to Wednesday’s
planned campus, employs 6,000 workers, according to the Times.
Workers at the Austin campus work on Apple’s online music and app
stores, handle finance and operations, and field tech support
Even in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California,
non-engineering teams like those for the App Store or for
cleaning maps are often located in satellite offices, not at
Here’s an example of the kind of tech support work that could
take place at the new campus:
“During the recent visit, Stephanie Dumareille, a senior
adviser on iOS issues who is fluent in English and Spanish,
patiently answered questions from a customer who was worried
about saving her résumé online and did not know whether she was
using a Windows or a Mac computer.”
Glassdoor estimates a $38,000 annual salary for technical support
agents at Apple in Austin.
Didn’t they just build a new ‘spaceship’ campus?
Steve Kovach/Business Insider
Yes, Apple did just finish a new, stunning campus in California.
Called Apple Park, it boasts amazing perks, including a huge gym,
outdoor fruit trees, and huge four-story glass doors.
It is not, however, big enough for all Apple employees. Apple
Park will hold 12,000 employees — but the company has 25,000 in
the San Francisco Bay Area alone. Divisions seen as less
important, like App Store workers and retail operations,
will remain in satellite offices scattered around Silicon
In fact, Apple employs 84,000 people in the United States,
including retail employees, it said on Wednesday. Apple’s
employee base has grown as the number of iPhones it needs to
service and support has also skyrocketed. In 2015, for example,
Apple added 17,400 employees,
according to SEC filings.
So in some ways Apple’s pre-announcement of a new campus was as
much about Apple’s prodigious growth as American investment or a
commitment to create 20,000 jobs.
But by withholding the actual location of the campus, Cook took a
cue from Amazon, and turned what would’ve been just another new
office into a media event — and likely some tax breaks too.