Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs made little effort over the last year to conceal their distaste for Donald Trump, a candidate whose social media savvy belied what they saw as a staggering disregard for the innovation economy and the tech culture that has fostered it. Now comes the reckoning.
Some of the nation’s top tech CEOs will find out how much of a grudge Trump holds when they ride the elevator up to his office in Trump Tower on Wednesday.
Tech titans including Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX and Larry Page of Alphabet, the corporate parent of Google, have been summoned by Trump as firms scramble to adjust to a reality for which they had not prepared — a potentially hostile president-elect indebted to almost no one in Silicon Valley, save for an idiosyncratic fellow billionaire they don’t particularly like.
In the new normal where no corporation is safe from the president-elect’s incendiary and stock-deflating Twitter barbs, tech firms could make an inviting target.
In his campaign, Trump already unloaded on Apple for manufacturing iPhones in China and for using encryption technology that federal law enforcement agents have struggled to penetrate.
He is a fan of the intelligence agency surveillance tactics that have undermined confidence in cloud-based networking and threaten to cost U.S. firms billions of dollars in business that could go to offshore competitors.