Apple CEO Tim Cook recently announced on CNBC that Apple would start a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing American jobs. That sounds impressive … until you consider Apple has $250 billion in cash.
Cook told Mad Money host Jim Cramer this move could be the “the ripple in the pond. Because if we can create many manufacturing jobs around, those manufacturing jobs create more jobs around them because you have a service industry that builds up around them.”
Cook, however, gave no specifics about these jobs. Indeed, there was no explicit promise of jobs at all.
Instead, Cook simply said he hoped Apple’s billion-dollar “advanced manufacturing fund” would create new jobs. These jobs may not be with Apple. “We’ve talked to a company we’re going to invest in already,” Cook said.
In the past, Cook said American employees don’t have the right job skills for 21st century manufacturing. He told 60 Minutes in 2015 that “the US, over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills. I mean, you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we’re currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”
Apple has often been criticized for manufacturing its iPhones and other hardware in China. Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump last year said, “We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries.” After Trump was elected, he promised he would “get Apple to start making their computers and their iPhones on our land, not in China.” A billion bucks won’t do this.
That said, Foxconn, Apple’s biggest OEM partner and primary iPhone builder, is in preliminary talks to expand in the US. This followed Trump demanding Apple bring its manufacturing to the US. In 2014, Foxconn considered expanding into the US expansion with full-scale factories. Nothing came of this proposal.
Cook made no reference to Trump during his TV spot.
So, what will a billion do? Apple promises it will reveal more of its plans later in May. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Apple helping Foxconn build its first iPhone factory in the States.