Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Wednesday that his company was creating a US$1 billion investment fund for advanced manufacturing. Mr. Cook made the announcement during an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money.
The announcement came in a discussion about creating jobs, and Mr. Cook said companies have an obligation to give back to their communities. One way that Apple gives back, Mr. Cook said, was by creating jobs.
“By doing that, we can be 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,” Mr. Cook said.
And to that end, he then said Apple would plunk a billion dollars into a fund for investing in advanced manufacturing in the U.S. That billion dollars is also just the start, as Mr. Cook’s wording made it clear there was more where that came from.
You can watch the segment on CNBC’s site.
Apple Advanced Manufacturing Fund
Get rid of any ideas that this news means armies of American workers toiling away in modern factories. Advanced manufacturing is a catch-all term that includes such things as robotics and other forms of automated manufacturing.
Advanced manufacturing facilities will have some human jobs, of course. Inspectors, people to mind the robots, some jobs that can only be done by a human—a few humans will still be needed. But, the kinds of investment Mr. Cook is talking about is for technologies that remove people from the equation, not move them from China to Chicago.
This may sound like it’s at odds with the creating jobs premise that precipitated the announcement, but not if you step back. The companies that develop the advanced manufacturing technologies will have all manner of jobs associated with them, and even an automated factory will have some jobs, as I noted above.
One way or another, however, Apple just told the world it was throwing its incredible economic might behind developing the next generation of manufacturing in the U.S. That’s a very big deal.
One last note: in the interview, Mr. Cook said Apple had already talked to a company it would invest in. Look for an announcement later this year if things carry on as planned.