After President-Elect Trump Met with Silicon Valley's Elite, Tim Cook and Elon Musk met with Trump in a Private Meeting
On Sunday Patently Apple was one of the first to report that Apple and other top tech leaders were planning to meet with President-elect Trump on Wednesday at Trump Tower. Today we're learning that the Silicon Valley executives met as scheduled to smooth over some frictions that both sides expressed during the presidential campaign.
To kick off the two hour meeting on a positive note Trump stated: "This is truly an amazing group of people. I want to add that I'm here to help you folks do well. There's nobody like the people in this room, and anything we can do to help this go along we're going to do that for you. You call my people, you call me, it doesn't make any difference. We have no formal chain of command," he said.
Trump also praised Mr. Thiel at the start of the meeting saying that "He's ahead of the curve and I want to thank him."
The tech luminaries, including Apple Inc's Tim Cook, Facebook Inc's Sheryl Sandberg and Tesla Motors Inc's Elon Musk, met with Trump as U.S. corporations worry about his challenges to long-established policy toward China, a key market for Silicon Valley.
A senior Chinese state planning officials told the China Daily newspaper Wednesday that Beijing could slap a penalty on an unnamed U.S. automaker for monopolistic behavior, a warning that came days after Trump questioned acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China." The tech summit is being billed as an introductory session, said sources briefed on the talks.
Other expected participants include Alphabet Inc's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Corp's Satya Nadella, and Ginni Rometty from IBM, sources said.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook and Tesla's Elon Musk will join Trump for a smaller meeting after the other technology executives leave, a spokesman for Trump's transition team said.
At the meeting Trump named Musk to a business advisory council that will give private-sector input to Trump after he takes office on Jan. 20. Uber's Kalanick was also appointed to the council. It was noted in the Wall Street Journal's report that IBM's CEO Ginni Rometty and PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi will also join the group.
One area where Trump and tech agree: reforming the tax code. Trump says he plans to slash the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%, which could prompt tech giants to repatriate money kept overseas. There could also be common ground over Trump's anti-regulatory policies, which might aid start-ups.
"We're going to make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders," said Trump, who was joined by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The Wall Street Journal noted that President-elect Trump also told the executives that he would do "fair-trade deals" and "going to make it a lot easier for you to trade across borders because there are a lot of restrictions, a lot of problems." He added, "If you have any ideas on that, that would be great." Mr. Trump has been a persistent critic of past trade deals, including the pending Trans Pacific Partnership.
Mr. Bezos, who sparred with Mr. Trump during the campaign, said he was "super excited about the possibility that this can be the innovations administration." Ms. Sandberg of Facebook said she was "excited to talk about jobs.'
Vineet Jain, CEO of start-up Egnyte, an enterprise file-sharing and collaboration provider stated that Trump is our president for the next four years, so the tech community needs to set aside its intellectual arrogance and move forward with him to maintain its preeminence as an industry. He's a businessman; I don't think he will do anything to jeopardize (the tech industry), Reports USA Today.
Of course what Apple fans want to know is what was Trump and Cook going to talk about in Private. A week ago today Foxconn confirmed they're in preliminary discussions to expand its operations in the United States. We can be pretty sure that a Foxconn operation is likely to include assembly of iPhones or other Apple products.
If such a mega-deal were ever to come to pass it would certainly be one of the top business announcements of the decade and Cook would be given a lot of credit for having the guts to work with President-elect Trump to bring back jobs to the U.S. For now however it's speculation and the naysayers and Trump-bashers are bound to raise hell and say it'll never happen. I'm an optimist at heart and love an underdog story so I'm definitely hoping that a deal could be struck. And with so much noise about the Chinese cracking down on U.S. companies next year, Apple needs a back-up plan anyways.