To make money for his company…LOTS of $$$$….
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be spending the afternoon of November 20th making conversation with President Donald Trump. The two are scheduled to tour a factory in Austin, Texas, where Apple is manufacturing its new Mac Pro. The president does this kind of photo op all the time as a way of promoting US manufacturing jobs (recent trips include a Louis Vuitton workshop near Dallas and a paper mill south of Toledo, Ohio), and Apple seems to be eagerly playing along. This morning, the company sent out a press releasetouting its new Austin campus and boasting that it is “on track to contribute $350 billion to the US economy between 2018 and 2023.” These are the kinds of statistics that Trump desperately needs as his trade policies stall out amid fears of a recession — and Apple seems happy to provide them.
If you haven’t been tracking Cook’s social calendar, you might be surprised to see Apple stepping into politics in this way. Without a content empire to moderate or an ad network to maintain, Apple has largely stayed out of the contemporary political maelstrom, which has done so much damage to Google and Facebook. Apple doesn’t have Amazon’s reputation for ruthless capitalism or Microsoft’s reliance on government contracts, and it’s generally cultivated a principled nonpartisanship.
But while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos openly feuds with the president (and Facebook keeps its outreach well below the C-Suite), Cook hasn’t been shy about meeting publicly with Trump. The president has reciprocated, mentioning Cook in dozens of public statements in the three years since he was elected. Beyond public meetings, the two men appear to be in regular contact. Trump boasted about having dinner with Cook as recently as August, and he says he regularly receives direct calls from the man. “Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly,” Trump told reporters in August. “That’s why he’s a great executive because he calls me, and others don’t.”
That relationship has paid off immensely for Apple. The company entered 2017 with more than $230 billion in offshore holdings, waiting for a Republican president to lower corporate taxes so it could be brought into the US at a substantially lower rate. At the same time, Trump’s trade war with China could have had devastating consequences for Apple, which relies more on Chinese manufacturing than any other US tech companies. In both cases, Apple has emerged with exactly what it wanted by appealing to the narrow, transactional politics that have become Trump’s trademark. It’s an ugly deal in many ways, but one that has worked out very well for Apple….