Tim Cook responds to US presidential vote

Tim Cook asks for unity

Apple, Tim Cook, Donald Trump, technology industry
Credit: Apple

We live in interesting times. The 2016 US Presidential election has cast ripples across the planet.

Tim Cook speaks

Apple has been in Trump’s firing line a couple of times. The president-elect currently rejects Apple’s balanced view on encryption, despite the risks; he also wants Apple to manufacture more of its products in the USA.

In a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News, Apple CEO, Tim Cook notes the divisive nature of the campaign; urges Apple employees to stick together; and stresses Apple’s continued commitment to social progress and diversity.

“While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed,” he wrote.

“Our products connect people everywhere, and they provide the tools for our customers to do great things to improve their lives and the world at large. Our company is open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world — regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship, or who they love.”

Read the rest of his statement here.

A little background

Total contributions to the Clinton campaign from the Internet industry came in at 114 times those for Trump, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Tech workers gave 60 times more cash to Clinton’s campaign in comparison to the Republican candidate.

The tech industry concerns at the appointment reflect reservations about presidential policy concerning digital rights, his desire to take manufacturing back from China, and the need to recruit highly skilled staff on an international basis, across barriers of nation, race, color and creed.

Trump’s promise to allow corporations to bring their foreign-held stockpiles of cash to the USA for a discounted 10 percent tax rate may prove more popular than some of the concerns his comments have raised about future policy on HB-1 visas.

Stay together

Cook’s plea that Apple should work together is a microcosmic reflection of what most across the industry seem to think.

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer said: “Like so many Americans, regardless of who we supported through our vote, we strongly share the view that this is a time for the nation to come together.”

“If you still love the USA, get up tomorrow and continue fighting for truth, the Constitution, tolerance, basic decency and wisdom,” said TechMeme’s Gabe Rivera.

The EFF, “remains steadfast in its mission and method: to use law and technology to champion civil liberties and provide a potent check against overreach," the EFF said in a blog post.

Technology investor and Trump supporter, Peter Thiel was pleased with the result. He said the new president faced a difficult task and would need “all hands on deck”.

Another tech investor was less sanguine: “This feels like the worst thing to happen in my life. I assume we'll get through it, but it sure doesn't feel that way right now,” said Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator.

Meanwhile, most in the industry are waiting to identify what the new presidential policy will turn out to be, now that the campaign rhetoric has achieved its result.

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