Last week’s meeting between Donald Trump and the top executives of tech’s biggest companies was the talk of Silicon Valley and beyond.
But wait, there’s more. Such as Apple CEO Tim Cook responding Monday to employees who asked why he chose to meet with the president-elect. For one thing, Trump had criticized Apple publicly during his campaign. And Trump’s rhetoric — and the records of the people he is putting in his cabinet — don’t exactly mesh with Cook’s reputation as a supporter of civil rights and social justice.
Cook told employees in the company’s internal information service that “personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” according to TechCrunch, which obtained a copy of the CEO’s response.
The CEO rattled off issues he identified as important to Apple, including privacy, security, human rights, climate change, job creation. He also mentioned tax reform and intellectual property.
“The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena,” Cook said. “So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree.”
Where engagement will be needed: Trump has said he wants to get Apple to “build their damn computers in this country.” He also criticized Apple’s stance in its fight with the FBI over encryption, when the company refused to help hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Another area that might be of concern to Cook and Apple is how the incoming administration deals with China. Almost immediately after the election, Chinese-run state media warned that Apple would probably be affected if Trump starts a trade war.
Cook ended his answer with the following: “We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think that’s a key part of what Apple is about. And we’ll continue to do so.”
Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, center, listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 14, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP)