updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue May 29, 2012
Company may be looking to exert political influence
Apple CEO Tim Cook quietly met with several leaders of the US Congress last Tuesday, according to Fortune. Sit-down sessions are said to have been been organized with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The one person left out of the loop was House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, who was on her way back from Afghanistan when Cook was in Washington, DC.
Message aides tell Fortune that the meetings were brief introductions, meant to open up lines of communication. McConnell is said to have mentioned his iPad, and he and Cook talked about the the glass for iPads and iPhones being built a Corning plant in McConnell's home state of Kentucky. In general the talks are said to have brought up vague discussions about jobs and the economy, but skipped Apple's legal troubles, such as a Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing.
An industry source is quoted as saying that the meetings were "quiet and focused," as is usual for Apple. "There was no public statement, no press conference, no hoopla, just like the company, which is focused on product design and end results." The person adds that unlike his predecessor, Steve Jobs, Cook "has a strong personal interest in policy issues and recognizes the role an engaged CEO can play in making a difference on those policy priorities."
When compared with other major technology corporations, Apple has traditionally only exerted minor influence over American politics. Fortune notes that in the first quarter of 2012, for instance, the company only spent about $500,000 on lobbying, whereas Google used 10 times that figure. The company also doesn't have a political action committee to funnel campaign funds to politicians. Cook, though, may be more openly political than Jobs, continuing a series of changes at the company since taking over.