Apple plans to invest $1 billion to establish offices at Research Triangle Park that are likely to employ more than 3,000 people, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce. The jobs would pay an average of $187,000 a year, according to the department. The state’s Economic Investment Committee approved a package of tax breaks worth $958.2 million over 39 years.
Apple has been expected to announce the center for at least three years with various Triangle sources saying a decision had been made long ago. It was seen as part of the giant company’s efforts to expand operations beyond its main sites in northern California and Austin, Texas.
Today’s news comes a week ahead of a federal trial in which the Cupertino, Calif.-based company goes head to head with one of North Carolina’s fastest growing, most successful businesses, Epic Games of Cary. The case is likely to be viewed by many as a David versus Goliath battle involving fees related to Apple’s powerful App Store. While Epic is valued at nearly $30 billion, Apple has a public market valuation of $2.2 trillion.
The new campus will focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence and software engineering, and more. Such work requires highly educated staff, which suggests the unusually high level of compensation expected at the site.
Top Apple execs have strong N.C. ties: CEO Tim Cook is a Duke University MBA who worked at IBM in Durham, and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams grew up in Raleigh and is a graduate of N.C. State University. He also has a Duke MBA.
Apple has operated a massive data center in Maiden in Catawba County since 2010 that has received several billions of dollars in investment.