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Tim Cook explains to Apple employees why he met with President-elect Trump

In a series of answers to questions posted on Apples internal employee info service Apple Webtoday, CEO Tim Cook commented to employees on some hot-button topics. We obtained some of the answers to interesting questions about a few topics, including the fate of the Mac but more on that later.

First up is probably the most topical: Why did he feel it was important to meet with President-elect Trump? The short answer: You have to show up to have a say.

Cook was part of a round table of tech leaders that met with Trump last week. The group included Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry Page of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and others. There has been a lot of discussion about the event, but the most prominent difference of opinion among commentators was whether it was worth engaging Trump in this manner at all given that the publicly expressed values of many of these leaders were at such odds with statements he has made during and after his campaign.

Cooks case in the internal communication, which we verified is legitimate, is that there was more value in engaging than there was in not doing so. Personally, Ive never found being on the sideline a successful place to be, writes Cook. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. Sowhether its in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think its very important to do that because you dont change things by justyelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, its a debate of ideas.

So much for the take your tech and stay home camp. The response was given, specifically, to the following question: Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?

In his response, Cook says that there are specific issues that Apple cares about deeply and that it would need to become an advocate for those things.

Its very important [to engage]. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do, he responded. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy andsecurity, education. Theyre on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. Theyre on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100percent renewable energy.

Though this is far from a statement of intent, and he doesnt mention them specifically, Cooks strong statement does touch on a variety of topics that abut controversial Trump stances.

We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think thats a key part of what Apple is about. And well continue to do so, he concludes.

During the close reading and aftermath of the meeting, Cooks dour expression (seen above) at the table became a meme of the moment. His stoic mien somehow transmitting what most people hoped was the attitude at the table: I cant believe I have to be here but someone has to do it. Cooks statements to employees seem to back that up.

No one knows for sure whether President-elect Trump will in fact enact many of the sweeping changes to immigration policy, cybersecurity and environmental protection laws that he promised during the campaign but his cabinet selections so far are not doing much to disabuse people of that notion. If there is going to be a healthy counter-balancing of those policies from the private sector, then CEOs like Cook must be willing to take a firm stance publicly.

I was able to get a hold of this internal postingand its out there now, but it would be encouraging (as argued well recently by Kara Swisher) to see these kinds of statements made on the record and for them to be made by more people at that table. I await yourcalls.

Cook also talked about the future of the Mac desktop and Apples differentiating factor in a more and more crowded tech sector, but Ill have more on that in a bit.

Heres the posting in full:

Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?

Its very important. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy andsecurity, education. Theyre on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. Theyre on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100percent renewable energy.

And of course, creating jobs is a key part of what we do by giving people opportunity not only with people that work directly for Apple, but the large number of people that are in our ecosystem. Were really proud that weve created 2 millionjobs, just in this country. A great percentage of those are app developers. This gives everyone the power to sell their work to the world, which is an unbelievable invention in and of itself.

We have other things that are more business-centric like tax reform and something weve long advocated for: a simple system. And wed like intellectual property reform to try to stop the people suing when they dont do anything as acompany.

Theres a large number of those issues, and the way that you advance them is to engage. Personally, Ive never found being on the sideline a successful place to be. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. Sowhether its in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think its very important to do that because you dont change things by justyelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, its a debate of ideas.

We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think thats a key part of what Apple is about. And well continue to do so.

Image credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/19/tim-cook-explains-to-apple-employees-why-he-met-with-president-elect-trump/

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