Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund to help U.S. manufacturing isn’t capped at $1 billion, according to chief operating office Jeff Williams.
The $1 billion investment was announced in May this year. At the time, Tim Cook said it was Apple’s “initial” investment, suggesting that there could be more money should things work out well. Clearly Apple has been impressed by the results because in a new interview with CNBC, Jeff Williams said the sum is “absolutely not” Apple’s final threshold.
“We’re not thinking in terms of a fund limit,” Williams said. “We’re thinking about, where are the opportunities across the U.S. to help nurture companies that are making the advanced technology — and the advanced manufacturing that goes with that — that quite frankly is essential to our innovation.” Williams noted that, “often those operations are very capital intensive.”
Williams’ interview followed news that Apple is investing $390 million in TrueDepth sensor maker Finisar. The sum will allow for increased research and development spending, and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). It will also be used to help open a new production facility in Texas, creating more than 500 jobs.
Previously, Apple also awarded $200 million to Corning Incorporated to support R&D, equipment needs, and more.
Expanding its U.S. supply chain
Apple’s $1 billion fund to help U.S. manufacturing isn’t entirely selfless — as you’d expect from a company run with the kind of business acumen that Apple is. A stronger manufacturing base in the U.S. could help Apple expand its manufacturing in the United States.
Tim Cook has previously claimed that China is Apple’s current manufacturing hub not just because labor costs are significantly less, but because of the country’s great number of skilled workers, too. This backed up an infamous Steve Jobs’ assertion from 2010. When answering a question from President Barack Obama about the shuttering of U.S. factories in favor of overseas production, Jobs said, “Those jobs aren’t coming back.”
Recently, however, there has been a turn in the tides. Donald Trump has spoken emphatically about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and Apple suppliers like Foxconn have been actively exploring the possibilities of opening U.S.-based factories. If Apple’s able to support these efforts in some ways, it’s a good move in terms of both PR and Apple’s supply chain opportunities.