Apple's Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson placed at head table for White House state dinnerApple CEO Tim Cook and environment and government affairs chief Lisa Jackson joined other tech industry titans at President Barack Obama's head table for Friday night's White House dinner in honor of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Cook is also expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend.
A photo snapped by the Associated Press shows Cook and Jackson heading into the event, where they reportedly sat with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, President Xi Jinping, Madame Peng, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Others at the table included Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and philanthropist David Rubenstein, according to West Wing Reports' Paul Brandus.
Friday's dinner capped off President Xi's two-day visit to Washington. Earlier in the day, the two heads of state held a joint press conference to openly discuss a variety of topics including trade agreements, military relations and, important to U.S. tech companies, cybersecurity.
President Xi already met with America's tech bigwigs in Seattle on Wednesday, where he delivered a policy speech and took part in a roundtable to discuss economic and cybersecurity issues. A recent scourge of Chinese hacks against U.S. interests has caused concern for industry heads, making corporate espionage a key pivot point for ongoing government talks.
As it applies to Apple, China's stance on data protection leaves much to be desired. The company is reticent to store data on Chinese servers due to potentially dangerous state laws that could force Apple to one day hand over sensitive files.
Complications stemming from Apple's complex relationship with China were seen this week when developers in that country inadvertently downloaded a modified malware-infused version of Xcode called XcodeGhost, subsequently uploading malicious apps to the iOS App Store. Because it was hosted on U.S. servers, Xcode was slow to download in China, prompting developers to turn to faster unofficial versions hosted on cloud storage servers run by Baidu. Apple has since promised to host copies of Xcode in China.
In related news, Cook is slated to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend to discuss how the company might benefit his country's economy, reports The Wall Street Journal. Modi will also sit down with executives from Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Cisco, Qualcomm and other tech firms.