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Nadella, Other Major Tech Execs, Meeting with Trump

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella numbered among the tech titans trooping to Trump Tower on Wednesday for a roundtable meeting with the president-elect.

The attendee list, reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, included Elon Musk, Tesla; Larry Page and Eric E. Schmidt, Alphabet; Tim Cook, Apple; Jeff Bezos,; Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook; Safra Catz, Oracle; Brian Krzanich, Intel; Chuck Robbins, Cisco; Ginni Rometty, IBM; and Nadella.

While Donald Trump's transition team declined to discuss the agenda, likely topics include jobs, H-1B visas, corporate profits held offshore and data privacy.

The potential exists for the meeting to be uncomfortable, as the Silicon Valley community, with the high-profile exception of Trump technology adviser Peter Thiel, often loudly opposed Trump's candidacy, with Bezos and Cook's Apple, in particular, drawing Twitter and campaign-rally fire from Trump during the campaign.

Whatever Nadella might advocate for privately in the meeting, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith laid out Microsoft's public positions in a Nov. 9 open letter. Smith called on the president-elect and Congress to collaborate with the tech industry on worker retraining to reduce inequality, investment in U.S. infrastructure, and finding a balance between privacy and public safety.

Nadella is not the only one with deep Microsoft ties to have a chance to bend Trump's ear. The tech roundtable comes a few days after Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates began publicly describing an eight-minute telephone call he had with Trump two weeks ago.

Given the length of the call, it is unlikely Gates pressed much Microsoft business. Gates indicated that he focused instead on the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and his new fund for fighting climate change through investments in promising technologies, called Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

"The key point I was pushing there was the opportunity for innovation in not only energy but also medicine and education and encouraging the idea that that's a great deal and a great thing for American leadership," Gates told Bloomberg.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 14, 2016