Obama Stories February 13, 2015

We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  expand full story

Obama Stories November 12, 2014

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
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A trade agreement reached between the U.S. and China looks set to reduce Apple’s manufacturing costs by removing import tariffs on components imported into the country.

Apple uses components from a number of countries around the world, notably Korea and Japan, which are imported into China for the assembly of iPhones, iPads and Macs. China currently imposes import tariffs on these components. The new deal would allow companies like Apple, Microsoft and HP to bring components into China free from these charges …  expand full story

Obama Stories February 5, 2014

President Obama uses iPad to take class videos during school visit [Videos]

President Obama, who has been seen on several occasions carrying an iPad, used one to take class videos during a visit to an Adelphi school to promote the ConnectED program.

The program, designed to bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of schools within five years, is being supported by Apple, which is donating $100M worth of iPads and other equipment.

Obama has also been seen using a Mac (with a Presidential seal covering the logo), but says he is not allowed to use an iPhone for security reasons.

Obama Stories January 29, 2014

Blink and you missed the tech stuff in the State of the Union address

Technology got only the briefest and vaguest of mentions in last night’s State of the Union address, with little in the way of new commitments.

President Obama promised six more “hubs for hi-tech manufacturing,” adding to the two hardly anyone had heard of in Raleigh and Youngstown that “connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” The government apparently kicked in $100M in funding for research into 3D printing and energy-efficient chips. Nothing was said about where the new hubs would be or what they would do.

Aside from that, there was a pledge to connect 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband over the next four years, which doesn’t seem an overly ambitious deadline for something so basic; generalised promises to reform the NSA; and a plea for Congress to reverse cuts to government research funding.

A one-line mention of possible patent reform, with no firm pledge. Nothing on net neutrality. ISP or carrier monopolies and collusion. Nothing on tightening rules on data security in the wake of large-scale credit card compromises. Not much on immigration reform, to help tech companies hire the people they need. And no specific pledges on limiting the powers of the NSA.

Is is just me, or is it odd to spend so much time talking about the economy and job-creation, but so little on steps to help the industry that is expected to drive much of that growth?

Apple did get a brief name-check, as one of the companies supporting the high-speed broadband initiative.

Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

In a statement to The Loop, Apple said that it was contributing hardware, software and expertise to the project.

We are proud to join President Obama in this historic initiative to transform America’s schools. Apple has a long history in education, and we have pledged to contribute MacBooks, iPads, software and our expertise to support the ConnectED project. We look forward to announcing more details with the White House soon.

Obama Stories December 17, 2013

Quick video: Tim Cook & other CEOs meet w/ Obama to discuss healthcare.gov, NSA surveillance, House of Cards

Update: Bloomberg caught up with Tim Cook on his way out of the White House today and reports Cook described the talk as “a great meeting.” Video report below.

Following yesterday’s announcement that Apple CEO Tim Cook along with other tech executives would be meeting with President Obama today, we now have some of the first images from inside the meeting.

While Politico’s report is light on details regarding what was discussed at the meeting, we get a brief video clip below showing Cook seated across from Obama (and next to Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings) as the President makes a joke about if Hastings brought advanced copies of Netflix show “House of Cards.”

“I’m just wondering if you brought advance copies of ‘House of Cards’?” Obama said to Netflix head Reed Hastings. The executive laughed and invited the president to show up for a cameo, according to a pool report.

“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in reference to the show and its Machiavellian lead character. “This guy’s getting a lot of stuff done.”

It looks like cameras were asked to leave following the brief introduction, but on top of the expected discussions regarding the controversial launch of Healthcare.gov, the report also notes that “industry leaders made it clear they wanted to prioritize” issues related to NSA surveillance programs. The White House also announced today following the meeting that it has hired former Microsoft Office exec Kurt DelBene to oversee fixing issues that still exist with the Healthcare.gov website.

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Obama Stories December 4, 2013

President Obama: ‘I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone, but my daughters love it’

While he and many of his staff members use Apple’s iPads, United States President Barack Obama has revealed why he does not use an iPhone: “I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” the President said earlier today. Nonetheless, he says that his daughters both use iPhones. President Obama has stuck to his BlackBerry over the past few years because of its messaging and encryption capabilities. No word on if the iPhone will ever be suitable for a President, but Apple has been beefing up its smartphone’s security via hardware, software, and sensors in recent years.

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