If Apple’s courtroom battles with Qualcomm weren’t enough evidence that the Cupertino company has come to view its key modem supplier as an adversary, today marked a new stage in the rivalry: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Apple officials announced that the company is expanding its hiring in the area, and plans to build a major engineering hub in the city — possibly next door to Qualcomm’s headquarters.

Last December, Apple said that it planned to hire 1,000 new employees in San Diego over the next three years, but according to local station ABC 10 News, “plans have changed” since then. The company now expects to hire 1,200 employees for a principal engineering hub focused on both hardware and software technologies, most likely including some of Qualcomm’s chip engineers, whom Apple recently began to woo with job listings.

They’ll be housed in a new campus with “hundreds of thousands of square feet of office, lab and research space,” which ABC 10 reports may be “just southwest of Qualcomm’s main campus in University City,” based on multiple sources. Apple hasn’t committed to a specific location for the office, but expects the first new San Diego-based employees to join the company this year.

Apple and Faulconer announced the development at Apple’s UTC retail store in University City, one of the company’s five retail locations in the San Diego area. The 1,200 new employees would triple the company’s current 600-person retail headcount in the southernmost part of California, the state where Apple is headquartered and maintains a massive coast-to-coast presence.

“Apple has been a part of San Diego for nearly 20 years through our retail presence and small, fast-growing teams,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, “and with this new investment we are proud to play an even greater part in the city’s future. You don’t have to try too hard to convince people that San Diego is a great place to live, work and do business, and we’re confident our employees will have a great home among the community there.”

Today’s sunny announcement contrasts with yesterday’s gloomy start of a two-week patent trial in San Diego, where Apple is accused of infringing on multiple Qualcomm cellular patents. The companies are expected to continue their battle in an antitrust trial in April.


How startups are scaling communication: The pandemic is making startups take a close look at ramping up their communication solutions. Learn how