Steve Jobs famously disdained Washington, D.C., but Tim Cook’s quietly taking it on

“As Apple chief Tim Cook quietly slipped out of a public meeting at the White House for a private lunch with Eric Holder in December 2013, the attorney general braced himself for a rough encounter,” Tony Romm reports for Politico. “His Justice Department had sued Apple more than a year earlier, after all, for the way that the company priced its e-books, touching off a bruising legal war between the two. And this time Apple seemed even more apoplectic. It was seething over a flurry of reports that the NSA had quietly cracked its servers and gained access to untold millions of its customers’ personal communications.”

“Cook’s demeanor, however, wasn’t even the most remarkable part of the meeting,” Romm reports. “A private conference in Washington with the attorney general (in itself a rarity for many tech magnates) would have been unthinkable for Cook’s irascible predecessor, Steve Jobs, who actively disdained D.C. Cook, much as he sought to shirk Jobs’ shadow as CEO, had also endeavored quietly to rethink his company’s relationship with the nation’s capital, becoming a leader not only ready to engage its power brokers but challenge them openly when it mattered most.”

“In the months since Edward Snowden’s surveillance leaks rattled the tech industry, Cook has become one of corporate America’s loudest activists on a range of issues. He’s met with members of Congress. He’s reached out personally to top administration officials, including, most recently, Holder’s replacement, the newly minted Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Cook has brought his name and Apple’s brand to bear in major national debates, especially same-sex marriage and equality. And his brand of passionate, targeted political activism has furthered his company’s vast political agenda, from advancing tax reform in Congress to addressing the pitfalls of surveillance — a privacy debate that continues to confound the nation’s capital,” Romm reports. “Once a political neophyte, Cook now occupies a public role in politics unlike any CEO in Silicon Valley, and his unique approach has rewired his company’s political strategy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You cannot be the world’s most valuable company and continue to basically ignore Washington D.C. Apple is famous for not cutting corners (greasing palms to get things done doesn’t happen with Apple (which is why it’s taken them so long to begin to establish a meaningful retail footprint in China, for example)), so it remains to be seen how effective the company’s lobbying efforts will be, but Apple does have a bunch of perfectly legal carrots to offer, such as billion-dollar data centers in the state(s) of U.S. senator(s) or countries of leaders whose backing they need on certain issues, etc.


  1. It’s a different day and the huge company Apple has become only makes itself a target without a D.C. presence. Steve Jobs would have had to adapt to this whether he liked it or not. And yes Apple should use every card it has to get what it needs from politicians. All of Apple’s competitors are already doing the same no doubt.

  2. When a so called government (and I’m using the term loosely and politely I might add) take a road that sacrifices and totally obliterates the moral high ground a really really really massive dose of karma is waiting for it.

    And it’s going to be such a, well you know.

    It’s so deja vu, reading the feedback from Eric Holder who essentially perceived Cook equating privacy (encryption) with human rights and then projected the follow up that others in the government would not be willing to acknowledge this.

    After all what does the u.s. government have to do with humanity? Not much, if anything at all, from the actions over the last decade.

    Oh you can ban my post, you can call me an idiot and try to bury the message away with the insults, censorship and smoke and mirrors but there is no way, absolutely no way that you are going to avoid the karma coming for you.

      1. Let’s all just call them “Rainbow Rights.”
        And could some Lib please explain to us just what rights the gays don’t have. I’m pretty sure the sure the Constitution includes them too.

          1. I probably won’t remember that, as I am not really into the internal machinations of that country.

            You should probably learn the difference between a warning and throwing dung. Let me give you some examples:

            Going around and making accusations that Iraq was involved in the second 911 and had weapons of mass destruction, that’s throwing dung. Walking away from a UN vote then following up with an unwarranted invasion of another nation, that’s a democratic dung dump. Tossing people, many of them innocent, into Guatanamo bay and other torture resorts that’s feeding dung to others (read rectal feeding).

            Pointing out that there are serious consequences as a result is simply a warning.

            One way or another though I will be cheering, for the u.s. will either grow a backbone, crawl out of the pit it’s dug itself into and send those responsible for such atrocities against human kind to justice OR it will enjoy a well deserved dose of karma.

            Either way I’ll be cheering.


  3. Tim Cook may be selling out Apple by dealing with the devil.

    Not his intent, but it works like this too often in Washington:

    They ask what you want, you tell them, and then they repeat the infamous line, “Well, in this town, you have to get along to get ahead.”

    And that’s when Tim agrees to triple-Top Secret compromises of Apple security. Otherwise, Apple will be considered a possible collaborator with global terrorism and crime.

    The next CEO of Apple years from now will be considered friendly by people in Washington’s three-letter agencies, in the way Google and Facebook are now.

    And Apple will also design products for the military industrial intelligence terrorism healthcare complex.

    Sad but maybe inevitable. Steve was wise to stay away so long.

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