Tim Cook talks taxes and failed Irish data center in new interview

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Tim Cook in Ireland
Tim Cook had a blast with fans in Ireland.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a quick stop in Ireland this week where he promised the country he’s interested in it for more than its sweet tax rate.

The company’s relationship with Ireland has been rocky the last year. Apple scrapped plans to build a billion-dollar data center and lost its tax deal, but Cook says he’s still as committed to the country as ever.

“Honestly speaking, we didn’t come to Ireland for tax. We came to Ireland in 1980 because we saw a community we thought we could grow, and could do a number of things to support the continent,” said Cook in an interview with the Irish Times. “We’ve stayed on course on that over almost four decades. It hasn’t been a straight line – life isn’t a straight line, things go up and down – but it’s always been in a trajectory that is increasing. I don’t anticipate that changing.”

Apple in Ireland

Apple currently has 6,000 employees in Ireland and over 300 suppliers. It also provides a boost to the economy through its App Store. The company estimates that there are 17,000 iOS developers in the country.

Ireland has the 19th largest app economy in the world and 12th largest in Europe, based on Apple’s numbers. The country is also the site of Apple’s only completely-owned manufacturing facility. The plant builds custom configured iMacs for customers in Europe.

“It’s a phenomenal change that really is only a decade old. Someone can sit in their basement or in their home, and with the push of a button all of a sudden it can be selling in 155 different countries. It’s unbelievably empowering,” said Cook. “It’s one of the largest job segment growths in the economy in most countries in the world.”