business news in context, analysis with attitude

Amazon’s search for a second North American headquarters city - dubbed HQ2 - has gotten an enormous amount of publicity in recent months, as the list of more than a hundred initial applicants got whittled down to 20. Amazon has just finished visiting all of those cities, and now is in the process of choosing the winner, based on considerations ranging from local infrastructure to financial incentives.

It ends up that Amazon isn’t the only major tech company engaged in such a search.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is doing the same thing … but doing it under the radar with none of the fanfare encouraged by Amazon.

The Journal writes:

“The secrecy of Apple’s effort contrasts starkly with Amazon’s approach. While Amazon’s effort to find a second headquarters city has proceeded with the fanfare of an Olympics host-city search, Apple is hunting for its newest U.S. location with the stealthy deliberateness it employs in developing a new iPhone.

“Since it announced plans in January for the new campus to house technical support staff, Apple has said little about the effort. (CEO Tim) Cook has limited his public comments, saying during a March TV interview only that Apple wouldn’t be discussing its search because it doesn’t believe in the ‘beauty contest’ approach.

“An Amazon-like competition creates ‘a case where you have one winner and a bunch of losers,’ he said, while Apple’s process is designed to avoid ‘putting people through a ton of work to select one’ city. ‘The best things we can do in business is find the win-win,’ the Apple CEO said.”
KC's View:
I get the appeal of what Apple is doing, but I still think that Amazon’s approach has a lot of merit. It is largely positive publicity, plus it serves to identify communities that are progressive or want to be, defining places that may have appeal to other tech companies even if Amazon goes elsewhere.