Donald Trump and Silicon Valley want to pivot to a better working relationship.
Breaking News : Top execs from Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Tesla (TSLA), Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30), Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30),Microsoft and several other large Silicon Valley tech companies met with the president-elect in New York on Wednesday after months of clashing.
“In the world, there’s nobody like the people in this room,” Trump told the executives gathered, according to a pool report. “Anything we can do to help this go along, we’ll be there for you.””You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. It doesn’t make any difference,” Trump continued. “We have no formal chain of command around here.”
Trump sat at a large boardroom table between Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and VP-elect Mike Pence on one side and investor Peter Thiel and Apple CEO Tim Cook on the other. Trump’s three adult children attended the meeting as well, sitting together at one end of the table.The three main areas discussed were jobs, immigration and China, according to a source briefed on the meeting. Immigration, in particular, has been a source of anxiety among tech companies who worry about filling high-skilled positions and treatment of their employees.
Trump and the tech leaders also touched on issues like vocational training, infrastructure projects and repatriation of foreign assets. The last of those may be the biggest boon to Silicon Valley. Apple alone has more than $200 billion parked overseas.The group agreed to meet on a quarterly basis.”The meeting today was very informative and productive, and President-elect Trump and his team were extremely engaged,” Andrea Duffy, a spokeswoman for Cisco (CSCO, Tech30), said in a statement. “The group discussed critical matters related to job creation and innovation in the United States.”
The tech summit was a striking shift for both camps.
On the campaign trail, Trump threatened to boycott Apple, went after Amazon for antitrust violations and called out Facebook’s founder for his immigration policies. The tech industry returned the favor by slamming Trump as “a disaster for innovation” and rallying for Hillary Clinton.”Now that we are out of the campaign cycle, we have to move into constructive mode,” says Aaron Levie, CEO and cofounder of Box (BOX) and a vocal Clinton supporter. “This is the next administration.”