If reports are true, Microsoft may be following Apple into the desert. It's been recently reported that Apple is spending $2 billion dollars to convert their failed sapphire plant into a data center out in Arizona. It would seem Microsoft is currently sniffing around the possibility of also acquiring a plant in near Phoenix, AZ. While these are just reports and nothing has yet been confirmed, Arizona state legislator Jeff Dial told the Phoenix Business Journal that Microsoft has recently asked for adjustments to the 2013 data center tax breaks.
Arizona passed incentives for data centers in 2013 as part of an advance by a coalition of data center operators, realtors, and economic development groups that all sough to benefit from increased data center business in the state. The Arizona Data Center Coalition, in a shocking twist of events, also happens to have Microsoft as a member.
While local media has yet to produce any documents or code names for the alleged data center project, some are reporting that Microsoft may be contemplating a site near Union Hill Drive, near the Interstate 17 in Arizona. This data center could have as much as 575,000 feet dedicated to it.
At present there seems to be a lot of smoke and very little fire, but if history is any indicator, Microsoft is at least showing the same pattern of interest it did before it's $1.1 billion dollar Iowa project in 2014. That project eventually joined an existing data center in West Des Moines, Iowa which originally broke ground in 2008. Microsoft also prepared itself for another data center project in San Antonio by lining up it's tax incentives in Texas last year.
With Satya Nadella's drum march towards the cloud, Microsoft's need for data centers is sure to increase.