Apple to Create Jobs in U.S.-PR Ploy or Sincere Effort?

Last week, Apple’s Tim Cook announced that his company would invest $100 million to move a portion of its Mac manufacturing back to U.S. shores in 2013. Cook told Bloomberg that “Next year we’re going to bring some production to the U.S.”

This was met with praise by the majority of business and economic pundits and executives. But others took a look at the fine print and weren’t entirely convinced of Apple’s sincerity. First, it was pointed out that $100 million is tip money compared to the company’s cash on hand: $121.3 billion. And second, Cook distanced the effort from a corporate standpoint by stating,” This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people and we’ll be investing our money.”

While skeptical of the statements of CEOs in general, here I’m inclined to give Apple the benefit of the doubt. After all, Cook instituted philanthropic efforts at Apple after predecessor Steve Jobs made it a point not to. And while part of the reason for this decision is most likely to generate some good PR, let’s face it: any investment towards jobs in the U.S. is a good thing, isn’t it?

But Apple has to be careful here. If next year the initiative turns out to be a drop in the bucket or it fails to live up to expectations, the company will open itself up to heavy criticism.

One of the tenets of good PR and CSR is to keep your promises, and if you don’t it will come back to bite you. Apple must keep this in mind.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01