Tim Cook Says He Met Donald Trump Because 'You Don't Change Things by Just Yelling'
Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended President-elect Donald Trump's tech summit at Trump Tower in Manhattan alongside other tech leaders, including Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Since the roundtable meeting, which reportedly focused on topics such as job creation and economic growth, Apple employees have wondered if it was important for Cook to meet with Trump, whose stances on issues such as encryption and immigration reform have been viewed controversially among the tech industry.
To address those questions, Cook issued an internal comment to employees, in which he said he has "never found being on the sideline a successful place to be." He said "governments can affect our ability to do what we do," and noted the way to make progress on key issues is to "engage."
A copy of the question and answer, posted internally, was shared by TechCrunch:
Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?
It’s very important. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy and security, education. They’re on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. They’re on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100 percent renewable energy.
And of course, creating jobs is a key part of what we do by giving people opportunity not only with people that work directly for Apple, but the large number of people that are in our ecosystem. We’re really proud that we’ve created 2 million jobs, just in this country. A great percentage of those are app developers. This gives everyone the power to sell their work to the world, which is an unbelievable invention in and of itself.
We have other things that are more business-centric — like tax reform — and something we’ve long advocated for: a simple system. And we’d like intellectual property reform to try to stop the people suing when they don’t do anything as a company.
There’s a large number of those issues, and the way that you advance them is to engage. Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. 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. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.
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.
Despite any personal misgivings he may have had in the past, Cook reportedly stayed at Trump Tower after the summit was over to meet privately with the President-elect for further discussions.
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