While the data center east of Reno-Sparks continued to expand through the years - Apple recently committed an extra $1 billion on top of the $1.6 billion it already invested in the Reno area.
Apple Computer Raises Nevada's Profile As America's Most Favorable Tax Haven. Nevada the state next door offers Silicon Valley giants an obvious financial edge - and highly compensated executives see the personal benefits as well.
Now that the global tax landscape has tilted back to onshore operations, multinational players like Apple are cheerfully investing at home again. But location still matters. Apple is getting serious about building out its corporate presence across the Nevada border, barely four hours' drive from the sprawling "mothership" headquarters in Cupertino.
Reno makes sense.
Tim Cook himself flew out to Reno to break ground on Apple's new $4 million shipping warehouse. It's a small piece of the company's overall footprint - but it's also the start of a more substantial construction program.
The goal is building out a presence in Nevada over the next decade, which is probably going to turn into green data centers, research labs and other cutting-edge sites.
After all, the minute he crossed that state line he started saving the company a whole lot of money. Nevada was already one of the most tax-efficient places in the country to do business. Now it's more competitive against offshore destinations as well. The math is simple. Apple could keep its operations in California and pay the state 8.8% on all profit. Four hours away, those exact same activities only accrue a minimal tax on gross receipts.
Headquarters can stay where it is, paying a premium to soak in that world-class California quality of life. But satellite offices need to go where the rules are most favorable. For Apple, odds are good that the intellectual property is going to move - Nevada doesn't charge a cent on patent royalties. Money is flowing back from overseas. It's going to seek the best possible onshore jurisdiction as its new home.
The personal edge. Similar logic applies on the individual level. As Silicon Valley produces billionaires, the gap between California's 13.3% top state income tax and Nevada's zero rate for residents adds up to staggering amounts of real money.
Also, Nevada has a thriving trust services industry populated by companies that stay busy creating and managing trusts for out-of-state families. Transfer the assets to a Nevada non-grantor trust and the beneficiaries get the benefits of more favorable rules.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is right there on the ground in Reno watching the numbers add up for the company he runs. His personal portfolio is so intimately entwined with the company's fortunes that he already stands to make a lot of money moving as much as he can to Nevada. Taking his personal wealth on that four-hour drive is how he keeps it.