The tech companies are generally keeping a low profile about the event. They saw how a post-Election Day meeting with TV executives, while supposedly off the record, turned into public humiliation after Trump attacked them.
SAN FRANCISCO — At the top of the agenda when President-elect Donald Trump meets with tech leaders Wednesday: jobs, jobs and more jobs.
Other topics will come up too, depending on Trump’s whims. One likely possibility: the repatriation of offshore cash.
The top tech companies collectively hold hundreds of billions of dollars overseas. They would like to return the money to the United States at a beneficial tax rate. For Trump, a deal on these funds could represent money that would help advance an infrastructure program.
But mostly, it will be about jobs. The tech community has put its products in every home and pocket, generating enormous wealth along the way. But the companies employ relatively few people, and the wealth is concentrated in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle. Changing this equation is the task of Peter Thiel, the tech investor who is now advising Trump.
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The meeting agenda, which was still a work in progress, was described by a person briefed on the roundtable, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it publicly. A Trump transition spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
Those attending the meeting, which will be at Trump Tower in Manhattan, include Satya Nadella of Microsoft; Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Elon Musk of Tesla; Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet, Google’s parent; Tim Cook of Apple; Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook; Safra Catz of Oracle; Brian Krzanich of Intel; Chuck Robbins of Cisco; and Ginni Rometty of IBM.
The companies are generally keeping a low profile about the event. Several of them were Trump’s targets during the campaign over issues as varied as offshoring, digital security and antitrust issues. They also saw how a post-Election Day meeting with television executives, while supposedly off the record, turned into public humiliation after Trump attacked them.
The Information Technology Industry Council, a trade association for the tech industry, held a conference call Friday with some of its members — which include Apple, Amazon and Facebook — to formulate a unified approach. Dean Garfield, president of the council, was guarded about the meeting’s prospects.
“There are many areas of potential shared alignment between the technology industry and the incoming Trump administration,” Garfield said. “Wednesday’s meeting is a good opportunity to explore what is possible.”
Rometty, a member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, is championing a new educational model for the United States that focuses on vocational training. Six-year public high schools that “combine traditional education with the best of community colleges” would provide IBM and other companies with the relevant skills for “new collar” information-technology jobs, she wrote in a letter to Trump after the election.
There is no simple policy change that could spread tech’s success to parts of the country that are reeling. Facebook employs relatively few people. Apple manufactures its products mostly in China and says reproducing its intricate ecosystem here would push up prices drastically for iPhones. Amazon has created tens of thousands of jobs in its warehouses across the country but is also blamed by critics for forcing small retailers out of business.
Two companies were invited to the meeting Wednesday but are not showing up: the ride-hailing company Uber and the short-term home-rental service Airbnb.
Both companies are at the forefront of the debate about jobs and the digital economy. Fans say they provide flexible work for those who need to supplement their incomes. Critics say they are poor substitutes for full-time jobs.
Airbnb said that its chief executive, Brian Chesky, was traveling overseas, and that nothing more should be read into his absence. “We look forward to working with the incoming administration, and others in Washington, on a range of issues,” said Nick Papas, a company spokesman. He declined to say where Chesky was.
An Uber spokesman said its CEO, Travis Kalanick, was in India this week.
On Tuesday, Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and now primarily a philanthropist, was at Trump Tower.
“It was a good time,” Gates said. “We had a good conversation about innovation, how it can help in health, education, the impact of foreign aid and energy, and a wide-ranging conversation about power of innovation.”