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Saturday, December 03, 2011, 01:27 pm PT (04:27 pm ET)

Apple may build data center near Facebook, Google operations in Oregon

Apple may join Amazon, Facebook and Google in having a large data center operating in Prineville, Oregon, if it follows through on plans to build the new facility.

Citing two people with knowledge of Apple's plans, The Oregonian reported on Saturday that Apple is "nearing a decision" whether to build the new, "large" data center. If it does, the facility would be located a quarter of a mile south of a Facebook server farm that opened earlier this year.

"Apple would be the latest in a quick succession of big-name tech companies to build a data center in Oregon," author Mike Rogoway wrote. "The state is a hot destination for server farms, which attract huge investment but employ relatively few."

Apple reportedly dispatched representatives to tour Facebook's new facility in Prineville over the summer. But Apple's plans are said to be "in flux," as the iCloud operator wants to ensure there is adequate electricity available in Prineville.

The city is said to be a big attraction for tech companies like Apple and Amazon because of tax breaks, in addition to a mild climate and relatively low power costs. Depending on the size of the facility, if Apple chooses to build it, Apple could reportedly receive a tax exemption of several million dollars.

Apple opened a massive, 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, N.C., earlier this year. In October, it was revealed that the company also plans to build a new solar farm opposite the data center. The new $1 billion data center supports Apple's iTunes and iCloud services.