Microsoft CEO Nadella to meet Trump

New York, Dec 14 (IANS) Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is to meet President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday as part of a team of tech titans for discussion on the role of their sector, which could have an impact beyond their shores.

Job creation in the US, visas for highly skilled technology professionals and investors, investing the large hoard of cash – a lot of it overseas — that the tech companies have been sitting on because of tax concerns are expected to figure in the meeting at Trump Towers here.

During the campaign, both Trump and the tech sector had a frosty relationship.

Trump criticised them for exporting jobs and manufacturing overseas, and zoomed in Apple for making its products in China. “We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he said.

He also threatened to tighten visa requirements for professional immigrants, the artery of skills for the tech sector, although he softened his stand later saying he would welcome innovators and skilled people coming in legally.

Last week, Trump said that he would not allow foreign workers on temporary H-1B visas for technology professionals to displace American workers, a move that could affect Indian tech companies.

While people in the technology sector criticised Trump during the campaign mostly because of their perception of his social and immigration policies, Nadella was publicly silent.

After the election, Nadella congratulated Trump in a post on LinkedIn. But in an implied criticsm of the Trump campaign’s perceived rhetoric, he also wrote: “Our commitment to our mission and values are steadfast, and in particular fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.”

After Trump’s election Apple reportedly asked some of its suppliers to look at manufacturing in the US.

Foxconn, the main manufacturer of iPhones announced that it was looking at expanding its manufacturing operations in the US.

Japanese company Softbank pledged to invest $50 billion in the US after its CEO Masayoshi Son met Trump earlier this month. Media reports said that Apple may invest $1 billion in the Softbank’s $50 billion fund for US investments.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)

–IANS

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