Apple unveiled a €1.7 billion plan to build and operate two data centres in Europe – one in Ireland and another in Denmark – each powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.
Designed to support Apple’s online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri, CEO Tim Cook described the investment as “Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date”.
“We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet,” he added.
The two data centres, each measuring 166,000 square metres, are expected to begin operations in 2017.
Apple, in a statement, was keen to emphasise its contribution to Europe’s economy on the back of its €1.7 billion investment. The Cupertino giant said it “supports” nearly 672,000 European jobs, including 530,000 jobs directly related to the development of iOS apps.
And since the App Store’s debut in 2008, developers across Europe – claimed Apple – have earned more than €6.6 billion through the worldwide sale of apps and in-app purchases.
The US firm directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries and has added over 2,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone. Last year, Apple said it spent more than €7.8 billion with European companies and suppliers.
Apple, along with other giant US companies – such as Amazon, Google and Facebook – has faced criticism from Brussels about taking advantage of tax loopholes in some parts of Europe, including Ireland, enabling it to slash billions of dollars from tax bills.
Responding to pressure from EU authorities, Ireland’s government said last year it would be phasing out the so-called ‘Double Irish’ tax break, which allows companies to establish secondary subsidiaries in Ireland that effectively pay no corporate taxes.
While the Double Irish is no longer available for new companies setting up in Ireland, companies using the existing structure have until 2020 to phase it out or make alternative arrangements.
The likes of Apple, Google and Facebook are expected to be significantly impacted by the change.