Apple plotting $1 billion NC-based data center

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Aren't the ways of state government mysterious? North Carolina's legislature is on the verge of passing a very specific series of tax breaks to benefit any company that spends $1 billion over nine years on a data center in one of the state's higher-unemployment counties. A memo concerning the legislation indicates that only one company will meet the criteria -- and, while it isn't stated, everyone seems to know that the company is Apple.

Now, leaving aside the political aspects of this (does a fairly wealthy corporation really need more tax breaks?), we come to the question of what exactly Apple would do with such a data center. Does the company plan or expect to radically expand its MobileMe offerings? Will it be seeing an order-of-magnitude boost of sales from the iTunes Store or App Store (possibly related to the smash success of the totally-going-to-happen-we-swear Apple tablet?

Any answer I come up with would be naked speculation, obviously. But maybe Apple is thinking of the dodgy MobileMe launch and the millions of iPhones that will be downloading OS updates more or less simultaneously, and is determined to avoid messes like the one the Nokia Ovi Store got into yesterday? "Be prepared" is a good motto, especially when you have ludicrous amounts of cash in the bank.

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