updated 10:20 pm EST, Tue January 24, 2012
Obama State of the Union policies touch on Apple
President Obama during his 2012 State of the Union address directly touched on the importance of companies like Apple while also pointing towards policies that would change how Apple itself behaves. With Steve Jobs' widow Laurene in attendance, he wanted to foster an employment culture of talent and innovation that would create "the next Steve Jobs." Among the fixes were addressing the lack of engineers and scientists at a time when many were still looking for work.
Simultaneously, though, he complained of companies that were getting tax deductions even as they moved jobs and resources offshore. The statement was an allusion to companies like but not limited to Apple, which often offshore their financial assets and jobs to minimize their taxes. Apple during its fiscal results just hours earlier specifically singled out that it had $64 billion in offshore cash, possibly as a message to the US government that it wanted incentives for repatriating the funds.
Perhaps answering the message, Obama planned to offer tax breaks for companies that brought jobs, revenues, or both back to the US. He wasn't yet ready to provide details of how the plan would work in the wide-ranging speech.
While revenue may be easier to accommodate, jobs may be more difficult. Obama highlighted the revival of GM and some American manufacturing, but companies like Apple depend on foreign flexibility and have to overcome questions of both adaptability as well as the supply chain efficiencies that may be difficult to overcome quickly, if at all.
Technology touched other corners of the speech. Obama was establishing a trade enforcement unit that would specifically try to curb counterfeits and piracy. He also called for an "all-out" energy plan that would focus on every available energy resource.
A Republican response from Indiana governor Mitch Daniels also wielded Jobs as an advocacy tool, claiming that the name was "fitting" as he created jobs. He didn't mention the concerns of offshoring.