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Iowa announces Microsoft is headed there for cheap power and good tax incentives

Iowa Governor Chet Culver announced Microsoft will build a $500 million data center that will be located in West Des Moines.  

The new building will be used to host web servers that are needed for cloud computing and services such as Windows Live.  It'll take at least 12 months to build the new West Des Moines facility, and could take up to 18 months.  The effort comes as part of Microsoft's charge to increase its spending on the online domain.

"We are very proud to welcome Microsoft to Iowa," Gov. Culver said in a press statement.  "In making its decision, Microsoft recognized what we in Iowa have known all along:  our workforce and quality of life is top-notch."

Microsoft did not say why it chose Iowa as the state for its new facility, but low cost power and a strong telecommunications infrastructure are likely two immediate reasons.  West Des Moines may now invest up to $10 million in area improvements to help prepare for the new Microsoft data center.

Gov. Culver also reportedly helped draw in Microsoft by offering tax incentives for computer servers and electricity.  Iowa has put a renewed focus into renewable energy and information technology, with several other high-profile tech companies possibly interested in building facilities in the state.  The tax incentives will be able to help draw other companies to the state in the future.

The facility will have at least 75 technology jobs with an average salary of $70,000.  The Redmond-based company will start out with 50 positions.

Google also is headed to Iowa, after announcing it will build a $600 million data center in Council Bluffs.  Google's facility will eventually employ up to 200 people.

Some may find it a little ironic that Iowa was one of the few states to hear state-level antitrust litigation against Microsoft several years ago.  Microsoft eventually settled with the state's citizens last year for $180M USD, which went to consumers, and $75M USD, which went to the plaintiffs' lawyers.




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