High-profile tech companies have a history of not taking sides in political elections, yet Apple is growing increasingly willing to push its political influence especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments.
Today, Politico reports the world’s largest tech company is not supporting the GOP convention monetarily or with equipment such as MacBooks as it has in the past. Apple cites Trump’s controversial stances on women, minorities, and immigrants as the reason for pulling out support.
This report follows another from BuzzFeed on Friday claiming Apple wielded its significant influence as a voting member of the Unicode Consortium in order to eliminate the rifle emoji as a candidate for the organization’s 2016 new emojis list.
Apple is operating in stark contrast to Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, which have all pledged some form of support for the GOP convention that will take place in Cleveland on July 18 to 21.
Apple’s plans for the Democratic convention, which takes place the following weekend in July hosted in Philadelphia, are still unknown. In 2012, the DNC declined any corporate sponsorship of the event, but in 2008 Apple equally contributed about $140,000 of equipment and funds to both parties. Most all Silicon Valley companies have adopted a policy of contributing equally to the parties over the years.
Trump has been critical of all the liberal-leaning tech companies, but has been particularly vocal against Apple’s encryption policies. Earlier this year, when Apple pushed back against the FBI and refused to build specific software that would violate its own security policies in order to break into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, Trump had some harsh words. The presumptive Republican nominee called for a boycott of all iPhones and urged the company to break into the terrorist’s device saying: “To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cellphone? Who do they think they are?”
More generally, Trump’s anti immigration policy flies in the face of Silicon Valley’s efforts to recruit top engineers from all around the world. And the Republican nominee’s sexism towards women doesn’t look good for an industry that already struggles with diversity in the workplace.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has personally attempted to build bridges with political figures on both sides of the aisle, despite Apple not having a political action committee of its own. Politico has detailed Cook’s quiet political motives in the past.
As the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Cook has espoused his support for same-sex marriage in the past. It seems possible that after the Orlando shooting at a gay night club that was classified as a terrorist act as well as a hate crime against the LGBT community, Cook may have felt he could no longer be complicit in the GOP’s pro gun stance. He nor the company have commented on the issue.