Apple Opens New iOS App Development Center in Naples, Italy
When it was looking for a place to set up its second app development center for the iOS platform, Apple didn’t turn to Silicon Valley, Boston, London, Hyderabad, or Beijing. In fact, the company eschewed the typical tech hotspots all together in favor of Naples, Italy, a locale best known for great food, important art and architecture.
According to an announcement today, the company said Europe’s first iOS App Development Center is aimed at giving students practical skills and training on developing iOS apps. Apple isn’t specifying where exactly the development center will be located, other than to say it will be located at a “partner institution.”
Strong Market for App Developers
Apple said the purpose of the new development center will be to support teachers and provide a specialized curriculum for future developers aspiring to work on iOS apps. In addition, the company said it will work with partners around Italy that deliver developer training to complement the development center’s curriculum and provide students with additional opportunities. Apple said is planning to expand the program to other countries as well.
The company has already built one iOS App Development Center in Brazil, and announced plans to build another in Indonesia, although no timeline has been indicated.
Apple couched the decision to located in Italy in terms of the growing number of jobs its app store is creating for European developers. The company cited job creation statistics released today by Michael Mendel at the Progressive Policy Institute, which estimated that iOS apps have created about 1.2 million jobs in Europe.
It also comes after the company announced a record-breaking holiday season for the app store, with customers spending more than $1.1 billion on app purchases for the two weeks ending January 3.
Apple Reaches Deal on Back Taxes
Still, the choice of Italy as the location for an App Development Center may seem an odd one compared to some other European countries. According to Mendel, the country, which he said has some 75,000 jobs based on the iOS app ecosystem, lags behind other nations such as the U.K. (242,000 app jobs), Germany (209,000), France (163,000), and the Netherlands (96,000).
And in terms of how important app development jobs are in Italy as a percentage of the total economy, the numbers look even worse. Although Finland has only 47,4000 jobs linked to app development, they account for a whopping 1.9 percent of total jobs in the country. Italy’s app developers, on the other hand, represent a just 0.4 percent of total employment.
Apple's announcement also follows reports last month that Apple had finally reached an agreement with the Italian government over a dispute about taxes -- the Italian tax authority had claimed that Apple failed to pay taxes for six years. The company reportedly agreed to settle for $348 million in back taxes, although there was no indication that Apple’s decision to build the development center in Naples had anything to do with the agreement.