So just what issues will these global tech companies bring up with the president-elect in their first meeting with him Wednesday? A look at their lobbying interests gives us some clues.
CEO Larry Page is expected to attend Wednesday’s tech summit. Alphabet lobbied in 2016 for a patent reform bill, but the process has been stalled in Washington, D.C. The bills that Alphabet has reported lobbying activity on involve privacy and law enforcement's access to personal data.
CEO Tim Cook will enter the fray with some baggage. Apple declined to support the Republican National Convention because of the president-elect’s sexist and racists comments regarding immigrants. The tension goes both ways; Trump called on consumers to boycott the iPhone because Apple refused to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Like Alphabet, Apple has also been active in lobbying on issues of patent reform. Encryption and protecting consumer data are issues of concern to the industry at large, especially after the revelations made by Edward Snowden.
But Apple may find common ground with the president-elect. The issue is at the top of Apple’s lobbying list, according to opensecrets.org. Apple has been in the spotlight recently for keeping its profits offshore, and like other tech giants has been calling for corporate tax reform. The president-elect has also said he wants to see a lower corporate tax rate.
COO Sheryl Sandberg is expected to represent the social media giant at Trump Tower. In terms of lobbying in D.C., Facebook’s focus has been on the issue of homeland security. This includes issues of cybersecurity, data security and privacy.
Facebook has come under fire for the proliferation of fake news on its platform, as well as for allegedly aiding terrorists in communication and propaganda.
Facebook has also lobbied on issues regarding the need to reform government surveillance. While immigration doesn’t top the list of lobbying issues, it is a topic that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has advocated for through a group he backs called Fwd.us.
Tesla and SpaceX
If CEO Elon Musk joins the gathering Wednesday, climate change could be at the top of his list. The famous industrialist is also a vocal advocate for addressing global climate change. Tesla recently acquired SolarCity and is building a gigafactory to produce batteries in Nevada. Another issue that could come up is increasing competition for government contracts. That's because one of Musk's other businesses, SpaceX, makes rocket boosters and is competing against established defense contractors.