Can Texans be trusted to build Apple Macs? We will just have to see.
More seriously, the announcement that Apple would invest $100 million in a Mac-producing facility in Texas is part of trend of re-shoring manufacturing to the US, which increasingly makes sense for economic reasons. Lower costs, the availability of skilled labor, the easier distribution arrangements within the large US market, not to dimension growing public support for the shift, all form part of the reasoning. There is political will for this as well.
As this ZDnet piece notes, Apple CEO made the comments to the Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations looking into Offshore Profit Shifting. Apple is under scrutiny for its tax avoidance, which has become common in the tech industry.
But behind all of this are the techno-strategic implications. There is a growing understanding that if you move all tech production abroad, you will lose the side benefits that come from the industry at home. Former Intel CEO Andy Groves, the guy who is one of the great success-stories in US tech, has argued as much. One of those benefits is a workforce that can put together, and take apart, and improve a piece of technology as common as a Macintosh. From these factories, innovations often grow.
China knows this. China has historically opened its markets in exchange for access to technology from overseas. If the US is to remain competitive, it has to hold on to some of that production ability itself. I don’t think anyone, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, and President Barack Obama, would expect Apple to roll back the clock and bring the majority of production back to the US. But bringing back part of it makes sense, from a business, PR, as well as industrial tech strategy perspective.
Now, the next question is where in Texas?
(Photo: West Texas, Wikicommons)