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Tim Cook's revelation that one line of Mac computers will be built in the United States starting next year is a significant development. CNN and others have flatly stated that the switch to made-in-USA will have no financial benefit for Apple, and so it entirely a publicity stunt. But I think that any way you want to slice it, it's big. Think of the way electronics were manufactured over the years, including back to the dominance of RCA in the pre-1970s era, before Japan became dominant. More recently, there has been a wave of manufacturing pushed to other countries—with no foreseeable change by any American company. Now, Cook—a supply chain expert—has apparently decided that the time is right and that U.S. manufacturing is up to the task. Sure, there may be a symbolic component to his decision, but then isn't there a benefit from being symbolic in today's manufacturing environment? Doesn't it take just one company to make a start on changing corporate policies? I wouldn't fault Apple, no matter what the motive, especially if it gets the electronics industry or other companies focused back on the U.S. for manufacturing.

By the way, Cook's remark was but a single clip on NBC's "Rock Center," and Brian Williams asked no follow-up question on the broadcast version of the show. Yet the remark was the lead for NBC's Web story about the interview. Go figure.
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