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HP to Apple: Hey, we already make PCs in the U.S.

Hewlett-Packard says it's way ahead of Apple in the race to bring more computer assembly back to the U.S.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
HP said 100 percent of the workstations that it sells in the U.S. are assembled in the U.S. HP

If Made In USA is a feature, Hewlett-Packard's got Apple beat.

In effect, that's what HP said today. "Lots of noise...about Apple moving Mac production back to the U.S.... [We] wanted to offer HP's story," said an HP representative via e-mail Friday.

Part of that story was provided by way of a blog post.

"HP PCs have been assembled in the U.S. since the beginning," the post begins. "HP workstations and commercial desktop PCs are manufactured in Indianapolis, and HP servers are manufactured in Houston. These manufacturing facilities employ hundreds of people and produce billions of dollars' worth of products," the post said.

Of PCs sold in the U.S., more than a third of business desktop PCs and all workstation PCs are assembled in the U.S., HP said, adding that it will assemble 2.9 million PCs in the U.S. this year.

"There's a significant amount of customization...it's a higher value product than we might do in Asia. A higher level of customers that need build-to-order and close proximity," Tony Prophet, senior vice president of operations at HP, told CNET in an interview, speaking about the Indianapolis operations.

Prophet continued. "We find that we are better able to serve our customers when we're closer, versus building them in China and shipping them by sea. The labor arbitrage is not really a driving factor," he said, referring to both North American and European desktop production.

Even a limited amount of laptop assembly is done outside China. Some business-class EliteBook laptops are assembled in North America, Prophet said.

And though the bulk of U.S.-based production is business PCs, small-scale consumer PC production is also being brought back to North America. "We're marginally moving even some consumer PC [assembly] back to North America. Doing less of that in China," according to Prophet.

Apple, on the other hand, is just starting to bring Mac production back to the U.S., after a long hiatus. CEO Tim Cook said yesterday that factories in the U.S. will handle "some" of the Mac production currently being handled internationally. Production will ramp up in 2013.

For HP, U.S.-based production is not just PCs. Printing components are made in Corvallis, Ore., and San Diego, Calif., HP said.