[Pdx-pm] OT: Why no Apple Computer Oregon Site?

Phil Tomson ptkwt at aracnet.com
Sun Feb 26 11:19:28 PST 2006

On Sun, 26 Feb 2006, Keith Lofstrom wrote:

> This is off topic, but pdx pm has many Mac-using professional
> software designers, so someone here might have some insight.
> I'm from chips and hardware, 

Me too.

> and the larger semiconductor companies
> have design centers all over the world - many companies have small
> 10-20 engineer design centers in the Portland area,  some have major
> sites.  Software seems more concentrated, and Apple Computer in
> particular doesn't seem to have much design engineering presence
> outside of Cupertino.  

I think this possibly due to two things:
1) Apple's software group is probably not all that large.  OSX is composed 
of primarily open source projects like Darwin and gcc.  The fact that 
Cocoa is a nice framework and Objective C tends to be more productive than 
C++ probably helps keep the group smaller than it would be at other 

2) Steve Jobs likes control.  This may be the main reason you won't 
see much spread beyond Cupertino.  Many years ago I worked for the guy who 
was the first paid full-time hardware engineer at Apple.  The stories he 
told about Jobs made it clear that Jobs was a total control freak.  I suspect 
he's mellowed by now, but still...

> I would think that Apple and Oregon would be a cultural good fit.
> Now that they are using Intel CPUs, a close connection with the chip
> designers near Hillsboro might help them combat the influence of
> Microsoft, which is likely to push Intel processors away from
> Macintosh optimality.  An Oregon design center might soak up some
> of the "at-liberty" programming talent we have in the area. 

Maybe, but Intel is based in Santa Clara, a 20 minute drive from 
Apple HQ. 

Of course another reason to base an engineering group in Oregon would be 
cost: you can pay engineers a lot less here than you would have to pay 
them in CA...  Afterall, a small house in the Bay Area costs around $650K 
now, whereas the same house here coudl be had for $200K (in the 'burbs).

> Any guesses as to why Apple hasn't already located an engineering
> operation here?  Would this be worth pursuing for locals seeking
> work?  

It might be worth persuing, but I'm not sure how you'd do it.  You need 
connections high-up at Apple.  If you could find some well placed software 
engineers at Apple who really want to escape the Bay Area, well maybe you 
could fan those flames and suggest Oregon as a nice alternative.

> -- 
> Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
> KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
> Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

Speaking of which, there really isn't much EDA software available on OS X 
other than open source simulators like Icarus and ghdl.  Do you do FPGAs?


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