Rumor: Apple in talks to build Russian R&D facility

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple and a handful of other tech companies are said to be in talks with Russia's Skolkovo Innovation Centre about building research facilities in the organization's "Technopark," which is at the heart of a larger initiative looking to bring high-tech innovators into the country.

Russian language news outlet Izvestia reported on Friday that Skolkovo representatives are looking to bring industry heavyweights Apple, Google, Facebook, Symantec and others to the technology park in hopes of creating a high-tech research community (machine translation) akin to California's Silicon Valley.

Companies already signed on to the project include Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, Cisco among others, though more investors are needed to fulfill the over $60 million needed to build the multi-building R&D center.

Skolkovo Operating Director for Key Partners Roman Romanovsky notes that the program has to include 30 to 50 large companies for the technology park to be successful.

Despite the standard "no comment" from Apple representatives, Romanovsky said that both parties are interested in negotiations, and the same goes for Google, Symantec and Facebook.

The Skolkovo IT research facilities will be one of six "clusters" in the technology park, the five others being R&D centers for nuclear tech, space tech, biotech, energy efficiency and post start-up. Located near the six clusters are central retail spaces and a separate shared laboratory facilty. Combined, the clusters will take up 90,000 square-meters of space.

Artist rendering of Skolkovo R&D clusters. | Source: Skolkovo

Romanovsky estimates that the participating companies will bring in about 5,000 researchers who will be housed in the Skolkovo center's condos and housing complexes which are interspersed throughout the grounds. Over 190,000 square-meters of land has been allotted for condo space, houses and villas.

Skolkovo is an immense undertaking and will be a city unto its own complete with a public square, retail plaza, multi-use event halls and even an indoor ice skating rink. Most of the buildings in the "smart city" will be giant glass structures that are connected by wide landscaped walkways.

While it is unclear if Apple will be taking part in the Russian venture, the company has shown interest in international R&D with its 2011 acquisition of Israel-based flash memory maker Anobit. A recent report noted that Apple was actively recruiting new hires for the the firm's research arm after axing a number of sales, marketing and administration employees.


  • Reply 1 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    In other news, ROFE jumped twelve points on the…


    Oh, wait. image

  • Reply 2 of 24
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member

    A rumor that will be denounced in a couple of days. Apple isn't going to do sh** in Russia. The social unrest there is disgusting. Putin is an a-hole and Apple would look like a damn fool going there. Apple Insider is becoming pathetic these days with these effing outlandish rumors to increase click traffic.

  • Reply 3 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

    Apple Insider is becoming pathetic these days with these effing outlandish rumors to increase click traffic.


    AI is reporting all the rumors that show up everywhere else.


    Unless they explicitly state they have an exclusive, they're reporting things from elsewhere. No need to get worked up.

  • Reply 4 of 24
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member

    One word: Security.

    Russian security/anti-virus firms blow away American ones. Kaspersky, et. al., are the leaders in their fields, which shouldn't surprise anyone as the most malevolent attacks are Russian borne, and are probably made by these same companies. image

  • Reply 5 of 24
    ivladivlad Posts: 742member

    This kind of tech city and large project is what United States needs right now.

  • Reply 6 of 24
    tommcintommcin Posts: 108member

    The only thing I think the Russians can offer is related to viruses and other forms of attacks.  Maybe it is better to have them inside the tent p---ing out.

  • Reply 7 of 24
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,212member

    Rumor: Apple given offer "it can't refuse"

  • Reply 8 of 24


    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

    This kind of tech city and large project is what United States needs right now.

    Yeah, "collectives" have been a big thing in Russia since Stalin. 


    The CONs have been burning Obama's butt over the high-tech solar energy effort that was driven to the edge of bankruptcy by Chinese competitors who are highly underwritten by the Chinese government.... MEANWHILE calling him a socialist. 


    What bothers me about this Russian effort is that the Russian Mafia will be all over it extorting money. ANyone remember the American investor that tried to build shopping centers in Russia but couldn't get electricity without paying extortion, he refused to pay, brought in his own generators, then threw up his hands when the death threats came in. Foreign investors in Russia expect a certain level of law to be present. The only "law" in Russia is whatever the Mafia applies... it may actually be even worse than in China.

  • Reply 9 of 24

    The only thing missing from that video was scenes of old fat women cleaning the modern streets with home made brooms.

  • Reply 10 of 24
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member


    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

    Apple isn't going to do sh** in Russia. The social unrest there is disgusting.

    Unlike the US, China and Israel...

  • Reply 11 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by RichL View Post

    Unlike the US, China and Israel...

    Yes, wholly unlike those three completely different scenarios.

  • Reply 12 of 24
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I highly doubt Apple would be this stupid. Too much corruption and as others have stated too much social unrest.

    The best way for Apple to leverage Russian talent would be to transfer employees to the USA. Speaking of which where is the political uproar?
  • Reply 13 of 24
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member


    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

    A rumor that will be denounced in a couple of days. 


    yep. this was an attention game. If they were really in talks the first thing Apple would tell them is to keep their mouth shut. Or as Tyler D would say "the first rule about Talks with Apple is that you don't talk about talks with Apple. 

  • Reply 14 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I don't see a single Yakov Smirnoff meme.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    I don't see a single Yakov Smirnoff meme.

    Because in Democratic Russia, YOU… have taken control of some of your life back from the Party, and despite the rampant corruption and potato-based alcohol abuse, life has the opportunity for being better than it ever was under the old regime.


    Wait, that's not… I need to go to bed.

  • Reply 16 of 24
    nano_tubenano_tube Posts: 114member


    Originally Posted by RichL View Post

    Unlike the US, China and Israel...

    And don't forget the UK as well.

  • Reply 17 of 24

    The meaning was lost in translation, as it often happens with Russian language.


    Basically, Apple was sent an invitation, along with Facebook, Google and Symantec to invest in the center. Original material even states that Apple wasn’t interested in the offer, but mr Romanovski hopes that maybe someday they will. That’s all.


    I wouldn’t count this info as a rumour, because the source is well respected business news outlet, which conducted an interview with Skolkovo head. Skolkovo is desperately trying to attract foreign investors at the times when foreign capital flees from Russia. Companies like Microsoft and Intel which already have offices in Russia could move their local headquarters to Skolkovo to save some taxes, but I wouldn’t bet there will be many newcomers.


    As for Apple - no, it’s not going to be in Skolkovo center any time soon. Apple doesn’t even have a store in Russia, despite huge gray market sales of its hardware in Moscow. Russian iTunes store is missing too. Look at the list of countries new iPad is now selling at; it’s pretty long but Russia is not there. Why? Prohibitive laws, widespread corruption make it almost impossible to do business legally in Russia. Until that changes, many companies including Apple will keep their distance from this market.

  • Reply 18 of 24

    $60 million? For a complex that large that's supposed to be high-tech oriented? Sounds more like a boondoggle than anything else.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    buzzzbuzzz Posts: 84member
    Doing business in Russia is extremely risky. The founder of Kasperky Labs had his son kidnapped a while back. He was rescued and now lives overseas. The security situation in Russia is very bad, and most of it's wealthy citizens send their children aboard as young as possible to attend boarding school. Before deciding to do business there, any prospective investor should read up on the case of Sergei Magnitsky. Or read what Ikea's experience of doing business in Russia has been like for them. Or read about the mansion Putin is rumoured to be building for himself with public money outside Moscow. Best to know what exactly you could be getting into before making a final decision.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    fsad32fsad32 Posts: 20member

    There're so many american people with so many stereotypes in their heads....

    Situation is much more simple - Skolkovo is a hoax project just for washing the money from the state budget to easily steal them. Russia's got a very good science base from soviet times, but it's destroying very quickly by the chronic finance deficit, professoriate rapid aging without new young wave of scientists (the demographic "pit" is at maximum now in Russia) and even the very new problems which never occurs in USSR - the archaic church which frozen in time of 19th century, which is blatantly penetrates itself inside state middle schools as new discipline to f••k children's minds with bible's crap.


    What about Apple? Mr. Medvedev (former president) likes it very well - he's using publicly the devices from Apple and even supported to equip state schools with very new equipments - Macs computer - the plastic Macbooks models exactly (i need to remind that Russia is mostly a Windows territory - the majority of all computers in this country is Windows-machines and this is a personal blame of Apple which never interested in this market in the 90's - so Microsoft was a monopoly here and the last Mac which was used in russian schools was like Lisa model from 80's).

    But Medvedev is noone, just a servant for Putin - the real ruler of Russia and Putin never used iPhone and he hates Macs and computers at all-he's not using them because he's got many servants like Medvedev to bring him a complete report on the paper. Political system of Russia is mostly like italian mafia, but on very high top level without even hiding that, people is politically inert but they are awaken after some very awful laws was passed - like the one which prohibits gay lifestyle-(with an administrative fine of $200 for it) or the other which makes Putin reelecting unlimited or the current new one which is in discussion about financial punishment for $30.000 to anyone who protesting or walking on the streets by large groups...


    The very hilarious scene with Putin was on the public meeting with him & one minister which bring with himself a "russian answer to iPhone" - which was in fact a total chinese old smartphone model which is not even working & where's nothing was russian (nor hardware, nor OS) and Putin truly believed in this spoof - many money was allocated to this but this phone was never launched. This was a shame. And Putin is the most futile political figure in the world - he and so the state can't make anything well made because he can't fight the total corruption in government - because corruption is loyalty. Even the Tony Blair is best politician than Putin on this background. I'm not sure if this inactivity bad or good, in short-term it's bad for citizens of Russia, but in long-term it's actually good - Russia is the one country in the world without standard quality roads and without many industrial objects - so it's got very strong and clean nature environment on very big territories where is no any people or any civilization for thousands of miles - it is the one and last country on the planet where wildlife is growing (wolves, bears and etc.). So if for 2020th we'll got 9-10 bln. population on planet and drinking water will be like gold - Russia will be the best place to live because of preserved nature by inactivity today (if i'm not mistaken California is already using mostly recycled water because of problems to get a fresh one).

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