US President-elect Donald Trump met with prominent technology leaders on Wednesday, including executives from Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and more. The meeting was the first of its kind for Trump, and could set the stage for how he approaches the technology industry during his administration.
The meeting was organized by Trump's chief of staff, Reince Preibus, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. So far, the following tech leaders have either been confirmed as attending, or have RSVP's to the summit:
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk
- IBM CEO Ginny Rometty
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
- Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt
- Alphabet CEO Larry Page
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
- Intel CEO Brian Krzanich
- Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins
- Apple CEO Tim Cook
- Oracle CEO Safra Catz
The meeting comes at a critical point in the run up to Trump taking office. Trump has been critical of some tech leaders in the past, and the meeting is a critical opportunity for Trump to connect with some of these leaders on foundational issues affecting the tech sector and American economy as a whole.
It has been projected that the meeting would touch on topics such as H-1B visas, manufacturing, automation, cybersecurity, repatriation, and net neutrality. But, as of the time of this writing, we don't have any specific information about what has been covered. However, there are a few takeaways that have come out.
Here are four things we know so far about Trump's tech meeting.
1. Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick will advise Trump
Trump officials told the Washington Post that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick would "meet with the president frequently," offering expertise on policies and strategy. Both Musk and Kalanick have poked at Trump in the past, but both operate in industries that are heavily affected by federal regulation, so it makes sense that they would agree to advisory roles.
The potential that could come from Musk and Kalanick could impact the autonomous vehicle space and the ride-sharing space in a major way. Both Tesla and Uber are working on self-driving technologies, which will need federal approval going forward. The pair's relationship with Trump could help fast-track the regulations on these technologies.
2. Alphabet's Google hires conservative lobbyists
Alphabet's Google has ramped up its hiring Republican lobbying firms and in-house lobbyists, specifically for its Washington office, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Additionally, the report said, Google is looking to hire a "liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups."
Google had a close relationship with current US President Barack Obama, and may be looking to make close ties to the Trump administration. Known for its moonshots and experimental business unit, and its work with autonomous vehicles and more, Google is also a company that is deeply affected by federal regulations and policies.
3. Tim Cook and Elon Musk meeting privately with Trump
After Trump's general meeting with tech leaders, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Musk will remain in Trump Tower for a separate meeting with the President-elect. Being that both companies have major manufacturing operations in the US and elsewhere, it's probable that the future of their manufacturing operations will be discussed. Trump famously told Tim Cook that he would make him manufacture iPhones in the US.
Another topic that could be on the agenda is repatriation, or moving cash held overseas back into the US. The hope is that this money would be used to invest in US operations and create jobs, but some opponents aren't so sure.
4. Jack Dorsey wasn't invited to the tech summit
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was surprisingly absent from the invite list to Trump's tech summit in New York. This is even more interesting given Trump's heavy use of the social media platform.
After mentioning potential plans for a Muslim database, Jack Dorsey was one of the tech leaders who vehemently opposed the plan and said he wouldn't participate, as reported by Recode.
- Cybersecurity in President Trump's America: The first 100 days (TechRepublic)
- Tim Cook, Larry Page, other top leaders to attend Trump's tech meeting (ZDNet)
- Trump's opposition to H-1B visas has experts concerned about filling high-skilled jobs (TechRepublic)
- Here are seven things Trump and tech leaders should discuss at next week's meeting (ZDNet)
- Trump's hostile attitude toward free trade could threaten tech sector and overseas commerce for US (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.