Tim Cook's visit to Washington opens doors to Congress

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
When Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the nation's capitol he broke Apple's unwritten rule of not mixing with politicians and met with a handful of Senate and House leaders for short introductory sit-downs.

According to aides briefed on the Capitol Hill meetings, the reason for Cook's visit was to show key policymakers that they have an open line of communication to the Apple executive, reports Fortune.

As reported on May 15, Cook met with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was on an official trip to Afghanistan at the time and couldn't meet with the Apple CEO.

The meet-and-greets were largely seen as introductions and no serious issues were mentioned, but it seems Cook's time in Washington yielded positive results with the politicos. The topics discussed were superficial at best, for example Senator McConnell reportedly spoke of how his iPad's glass, and that of the iPhone 4 and 4S, is manufactured in the Corning plant in his home state of Kentucky.

"It was an act of opening up a line of communication, but it was a first step in what hopefully will be a growing relationship," an aide said. "They didn't become best buds in one meeting."

An industry source claims that the discussions were conducted in typical Apple fashion, saying "they were quiet and focused. There was no public statement, no press conference, no hoopla, just like the company, which is focused on product design and end results." The source went on to say that Cook has a strong personal interest in government policy issues and "recognizes the role an engaged CEO can play in making a difference on those policy priorities."

Boehner and Cook
House Speaker John Boehner discusses his iPhone with Apple CEO Tim Cook. | Source: Speaker.gov


Cook may be looking to change the level of engagement Apple shares with Congress, though as it stands the company trails far behind competing tech companies in money spent on lobbying. The iPad maker put $500,000 towards political advocacy in the first quarter of 2012, while Google reportedly earmarked ten times that amount over the same period. Apple also lacks a political action committee to back lawmakers' campaign funds, something that is de rigeur for most large corporations in America.

A sign that Apple is changing the way it thinks about government in general was the company's willingness to cooperate with lawmakers over recent smartphone privacy concerns. In early March, Sen. Charles Schumer was granted a request to meet with Apple representatives over iOS apps that had the ability to upload geo-tagged photos in the background as well as data from a user's address book. In another instance, Apple responded to a letter from Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) regarding the aforementioned contacts upload controversy with a five-page letter of its own.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member


    I can't see any good coming from this.

  • Reply 2 of 41
    modemode Posts: 163member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I can't see any good coming from this.



     


    Well, they need to do something with their stockpiles of cash - may as well buy a government in a 2nd world country.

  • Reply 3 of 41
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 637member


    OMG, Steve Jobs wouldn't do that - it's the end of Apple, blah, blah, blah (insert more hyperbole)

  • Reply 4 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mode View Post


     


    Well, they need to do something with their stockpiles of cash - may as well buy a government in a 2nd world country.



     


    I have a recommendation for Apple and their cash... keep it out of the pockets of the politicians.


     


    On a related note, did Steve Jobs ever appear before lawmakers?

  • Reply 5 of 41
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 637member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


     


    I have a recommendation for Apple and their cash... keep it out of the pockets of the politicians.


     


    On a related note, did Steve Jobs ever appear before lawmakers?



    Actually, to quote from OpenSecret.org, ". Apple's appetite for lobbying has steadily increased during the past 10 years, going from spending $180,000 in 1998 to a peak of $1.7 million in 2008."


     


    http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/01/capital-rivals-apple-versus-microso.html

  • Reply 6 of 41
    kpomkpom Posts: 653member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I can't see any good coming from this.

     

    Microsoft used to eschew formal meetings with Congressional leaders, as well as lobbying. That all changed once they got hit with an anti-trust lawsuit.

    While Apple isn't nearly in the same situation Microsoft was in, they are increasingly under scrutiny for certain business practices. Having an open line to Washington might help diffuse potentially difficult political situations.
  • Reply 7 of 41


    below...

  • Reply 8 of 41

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post


    OMG, Steve Jobs wouldn't do that - it's the end of Apple, blah, blah, blah (insert more hyperbole)



    Apple ended the moment Jobs died.

  • Reply 9 of 41
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ... as it stands the company trails far behind competing tech companies in money spent on lobbying. The iPad maker put $500,000 towards political advocacy in the first quarter of 2012, while Google reportedly earmarked ten times that amount over the same period. Apple also lacks a political action committee to back lawmakers' campaign funds, something that is de rigeur for most large corporations in America. ...


     


    This is uniformly *bad* news.  


    Engaging in such bribery and influence peddling is corruption by definition and part of what's wrong with politics in the USA.  


     


    A nominal 500,000 for "advocacy is understandable, but if they are seriously going to get into the game, then they are just as corrupt as all the rest.  We can only hope that Cook was seriously about opening up communication and that it isn't (as the article implies), the beginning of Apple jumping on the corrupt bandwagon of lobbying.  

  • Reply 10 of 41
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KPOM View Post


     

    Microsoft used to eschew formal meetings with Congressional leaders, as well as lobbying. That all changed once they got hit with an anti-trust lawsuit. While Apple isn't nearly in the same situation Microsoft was in, they are increasingly under scrutiny for certain business practices. Having an open line to Washington might help diffuse potentially difficult political situations.


     


    There is a big difference between "what will help them out" and "what's the right thing to do."

  • Reply 11 of 41
    Gosh, Apple is starting to sleep with the fishes. The winner of those two is the politicians. Now, the richest corporation in America come crawling to Washington with sack-loads of money in non-disclosed meetings. Open communication, eh? More like you want this law vanish, this advantage, then give me some..
  • Reply 12 of 41
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,018member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


     


    I have a recommendation for Apple and their cash... keep it out of the pockets of the politicians.


     


    On a related note, did Steve Jobs ever appear before lawmakers?



    If you consider POTUS as a lawmaker then, yes!

  • Reply 13 of 41
    smallwheelssmallwheels Posts: 584member


    Apple could really have some power if they would just manufacture all of their products throughout the USA. They could do as the military manufacturers do and put some type of plant in every state. Then no politician would want to cross Apple for fear of having their manufacturing plant move to another state. It is this tactic that keeps the military manufacturers so strong in congress.


     


    The USA doesn't need a giant army and navy but we've got them because of so many bases in all of the states. No congressman wants to have a base closed in his state because that means jobs will disappear. I live in Montana. Only Alaska has fewer people per square mile. Montana has nuclear missiles, several air bases, and National Guard bases. I don't think the Canadians are about to attack us any time soon.

     

  • Reply 14 of 41
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I can't see any good coming from this.



     


    I agree. I hope this is not a sign of Apple crony capitalism. My best hope is Apple's just trying to be friendly to keep these assholes off their back.

  • Reply 15 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member


    POTUS is not a lawmaker. Congress introduces bills, which may eventually become laws... Did you forget your "Schoolhouse Rock"?

  • Reply 16 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


     


    My best hope is Apple's just trying to be friendly to keep these assholes off their back.



     


    Obviously not an easy task.

  • Reply 17 of 41
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


     Montana has nuclear missiles, several air bases, and National Guard bases. I don't think the Canadians are about to attack us any time soon.


     



    We all know how the missiles and air bases came into being. During the cold war, any potential attack on or by the Soviets would have been launched over the Arctic as that is the shortest distance to the targets. The Canadians have always been quite cooperative in that defense effort.

  • Reply 18 of 41
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


    Montana has nuclear missiles, several air bases, and National Guard bases. I don't think the Canadians are about to attack us any time soon.


     



    Why would Canada want to attack you anytime soon? Canada is waaay ahead of ya :)

  • Reply 19 of 41
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    I'm sure Bohner yes Bohner was thinking in the back of his mind on how disgusting Cook is in bed.  And no I am not trying to make Cook out to be a disgusting man.  It's the way the Conservative GOPer's think.  Ultra Religious Freaks.  I'm sure that his name was used in a negative context in DC's conservative circle.

  • Reply 20 of 41
    panupanu Posts: 135member


    This is a good thing, because Apple is finally doing business like everyone else. It's a good thing except it doesn't seem that way to anarchists, conspiracy theorists, paranoids, people who watch Faux News, and patriots who hate everything about America except a soldier and a flag--as well as people whom politicians have hoodwinked into thinking the government is corrupt so they can get away with murder without anyone thinking anything is wrong. 


     


    It is unlikely that Tim Cook visited the capitol while he was in the capital, unless he took the tour for tourists. The House and Senate do not have their offices in the Capitol itself.

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