Tim Cook, like much of the tech community, doesn’t have the greatest track record of getting along well with president elect Donald Trump. During the campaign it was revealed that Apple would be boycotting the Republican National Convention due to its choice of candidate, while fundraising for more moderate GOP figures, and Trump himself was an outspoken critic of Apple over their privacy stance during the company’s standoff with the FBI over the San Bernardino shootings.
Now the pair have to put their distaste for each other to one side and try to work together for the next four years, and Trump revealed in his on-the-record chat with the New York Times that they’ve already had their first conversation, in which they covered the next president’s economically dubious plan to force Apple to manufacture their computers in the United States again.
So here is what was said in Trump’s own words. Though it’s worth highlighting that Apple has not confirmed these events, and the president elect has a patchy history with accuracy, to put things mildly.
“I was honored yesterday, I got a call from Bill Gates, great call, we had a great conversation, I got a call from Tim Cook at Apple, and I said, ‘Tim, you know one of the things that will be a real achievement for me is when I get Apple to build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States, where instead of going to China, and going to Vietnam, and going to the places that you go to, you’re making your product right here.’
He said, ‘I understand that.’ I said: ‘I think we’ll create the incentives for you, and I think you’re going to do it. We’re going for a very large tax cut for corporations, which you’ll be happy about.’ But we’re going for big tax cuts, we have to get rid of regulations, regulations are making it impossible. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, I mean I could sit down and show you regulations that anybody would agree are ridiculous. It’s gotten to be a free-for-all. And companies can’t, they can’t even start up, they can’t expand, they’re choking.”
We’ll see what happens. I suspect that, like his “open mind” on climate change, this might be another case of telling an audience what they want to hear, but we’ll find out soon enough.
Of course, if Trump follows through with his threat of 45% trade tariffs on China, then manufacturing in the US might seem the more appealing of two economic suicides. In China’s state-run newspaper, an editorial threatened “tit-for-tat” repercussions of any anti-trade move: “China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.,” the paper wrote.
Whatever happens, it looks like Tim Cook is in for an interesting four years.
Images: Mike Deerkoski and Brian Snenson used under Creative Commons