Apple will expand its Seattle operations to more than 1,000 employees and establish a new site in the city, moving further into the backyards of hometown tech titans Microsoft and Amazon, and escalating the competition for tech talent in the region.
The company announced the plan for Seattle as part of a broader national expansion unveiled this morning. Austin landed Apple’s big prize, a new $1 billion, 133-acre campus with capacity for up to 15,000 employees. However, Seattle is among three other U.S. cities where the tech giant says it will significantly expand its operations over the next three years.
Apple first announced plans for a national expansion and new campus in January of this year, although its search was largely overshadowed by the hoopla over Amazon’s HQ2 search.
The company declined to provide details about its Seattle plans beyond what was announced in its news release: “Apple plans to grow its employee base in regions across the United States over the next three years, expanding to over 1,000 employees in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City each, and adding hundreds of new jobs in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston and Portland, Oregon. The company recently opened its newest office in Nashville, Tennessee and Apple’s Miami office is projected to double in size.”
Apple ❤️ Austin! Proud to announce our newest campus there, along with plans for new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, CA as Apple expands operations and creates thousands of jobs across the US.https://t.co/f2UwlXW2Hk
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) December 13, 2018
Apple established its first formal engineering office in Seattle with its 2014 acquisition of Union Bay Networks. In 2016, Apple acquired machine learning startup Turi, establishing the city as its hub for developing artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
Since then, the company has been growing its presence at Seattle’s Two Union Square office tower. An expansion in the skyscraper earlier this year gave Apple room for as many as 500 employees in the building.
Apple didn’t say what the focus of the expanded Seattle office will be. In addition to AI, the Seattle office also works on iCloud. Apple’s job site lists 25 open positions, most of them focused on AI and Siri, Apple’s digital assistant.
More than 100 out-of-town technology companies are operating engineering centers in the Seattle region. Facebook now tops 3,000 employees in the region, and Google is building a new campus in South Lake Union neighborhood, next door to Amazon, with room for thousands of additional employees.
Microsoft employs more than 50,000 people in Washington state, most of them at its Redmond headquarters.