Apple to invest $1 billion in German chip design centre

Hot on the heels of the European Commission’s semiconductor pledge, Apple has announced it will make Munich its European silicon design hub.

It’s funny how often private investment announcements coincide with related political initiatives isn’t it? Gadget giant Apple announced today that it will spend a billion bucks over the next three years on expanding its silicon design centre in Munich. In other news, the EU said it aims to produce 20% of world’s semiconductors by 2030.

“I couldn’t be more excited for everything our Munich engineering teams will discover — from exploring the new frontiers of 5G technology, to a new generation of technologies that bring power, speed, and connectivity to the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Munich has been a home to Apple for four decades, and we’re grateful to this community and to Germany for being a part of our journey.”

The rest of the release mainly banged on about how great it has been for Germany to have Apple there. There was no mention of the European Commission initiative, but it would be a hell of a coincidence if Apple had received no incentives to make this investment, let alone to announce it today.

That’s not to say it won’t be mutually beneficial. Germany has a highly skilled and educated workforce and Europe certainly needs to do more to ensure it remains competitive in high-tech. The investment will result in Apple basing its cellular unit there, as it tries desperately to innovate its way out of the commercial clutches of Qualcomm.

“The team is creating 5G and future technologies, bringing innovation to all aspects of the wireless experience through the seamless integration of hardware and software engineering,” says the press release. “Teams also focus on developing, integrating, and optimising wireless modems for Apple products. Apple’s site in Linz, Austria, is driving new radio technologies.”

The US/China trade war, which shows no sign of abating under President Biden, is compelling the likes of Apple to ensure as many of their interests as possible are free from Chinese influence. This could be the first of many major tech initiatives in Europe, but it would be nice to see some of those incentives distributed a bit closer to home.

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