The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Apple announces major expansion in Austin, other U.S. cities

Apple announced Thursday that it would be expanding its offices across the United States, with a $1 billion new campus in Austin and new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, Calif. The tech giant also said it expects to add hundreds of jobs in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colo., in the next three years.

"Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or Zip code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide,” Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said in a statement. He did not specify the types of jobs that were being created.

With its expansion, the company has said it is on track to create 20,000 new jobs in the United States by 2023. While many celebrate the news of more jobs with one of the world’s most powerful companies, some worry that an influx of highly paid workers might exacerbate income inequality, while increasing housing prices and cost of living.

Amazon HQ2 decision: Amazon splits prize between Crystal City and New York

Apple’s announcement comes as other major tech companies are also adding to their work forces. Google has plans to expand in San Jose, and last month Amazon announced that it would split its new headquarters between Long Island City, N.Y., and Crystal City in Arlington, Va., after a year-long search that drew bids from 238 cities.

The Amazon decision sparked an outcry for its theatrics in making cities bend over backward to sell themselves to Amazon and for eventually rejecting cities seemingly more in need of the transformation the online retailer had promised to bring. Public officials in New York have been especially critical upon learning that incentives from New York City and the state to entice Amazon amounted to roughly $3 billion, and the planning stages for the Queens headquarters have been marked by protesters.

(Amazon’s founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, also owns The Washington Post.)

Apple said in January that it planned to spend $30 billion on new facilities and hire 20,000 employees in the United States over the next five years, and company officials said much of that growth would come at a new location outside California and Texas, home to its two largest hubs. At one point, Apple was considering the District and Northern Virginia for a possible 20,000-person office, The Washington Post reported.

In the ramp-up to Apple’s expansion, Cook said in a March MSNBC interview that the company was explicitly trying to avoid the “beauty contest kind of thing” that Amazon had spawned.

“From our point of view, we didn’t want to create this contest, because I think what comes out of that is you wind up putting people through a ton of work to select one,” Cook said. “So that is a case where you have a winner and a lot of losers. I don’t like that.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday’s announcement.

Valued at $920 billion, Apple is the most profitable company in the world. It completed its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., nicknamed “the spaceship” for its circular design, last spring. The company employs 90,000 people in the United States, with workers in every state.

The new North Austin campus, which will be less than a mile from its current campus, will span more than 130 acres, according to a statement, including 50 acres of preserved open space, and will be wholly powered by renewable energy. The facility will be able to accommodate up to 15,000 workers, making Apple the largest private employer in Austin.

“Apple is among the world’s most innovative companies and an avid creator of jobs in Texas and across the country,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement. “Their decision to expand operations in our state is a testament to the high-quality workforce and unmatched economic environment that Texas offers."

In addition to new sites that can accommodate more than 1,000 employees in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, Apple also said it plans to invest $10 billion in U.S. data centers over the next five years, including $4.5 billion this year and next.