By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
December 14, 2018

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The headline on Apple’s news release at a minute past the stroke of midnight Thursday was “Apple to Build New Campus in Austin and Add Jobs Across the U.S.” There was a sub-headline too, about the iPhone maker also beefing up in Seattle, San Diego, and a location in Los Angeles, which Apple identified with curious specificity as “Culver City.”

If subtext were substituted for headline, the statement would have read: “Apple Has Message For Donald Trump: We’re Really Committed to America.” The release went on to note that Apple employs 90,000 people “in all 50 states” and that in addition to the major investments it is making in these four places, it’s also adding jobs in Pittsburgh; New York; Boulder, Colo.; Boston; Portland, Ore.; Nashville; and Miami.

The message, repeated several times and in various ways, was clear: We may do essentially all our manufacturing in China (awkward!), and our products may famously be “designed in California,” but we’re an all-American company and our employees vote in lots of different states. What’s more, we’re no General Motors, closing factories and laying off workers. (We did that a long time ago.) We’re growing.

A couple thoughts:

  1. Apple long has been a proudly committed headquarters-oriented company. The action was in Cupertino, Calif., and only Cupertino. That’s what the “designed in California” tagline refers to. I’m not so sure that’s really changed. But many Apple employees will be doing many things outside of Cupertino now. Apple says the Austin workers will be engaged in “engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales and customer support.”
  2. To its credit, Apple didn’t run a demeaning auction for its new sites. It quietly chose them. That’s not to say the losing companies for Amazon’s headquarters competition didn’t get something out of their efforts. After all, contests grow from contesting. But they lost. And Amazon made them feel like losers. Apple didn’t. At least not publicly.


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