The White House has announced that President Obama is scheduled to meet with a number of top-level tech executives in the industry tomorrow, including Apple’s Tim Cook. Topics of discussion will be the recent controversy surrounding the NSA’s phone surveillance, HealthCare.Gov, and ways the government can work with tech companies to grow the economy.
It was only six months ago that the White House officially went on record saying that they thought cell phone unlocking should be legalized. The statement was issued in response to a 114,000+ signature petition, which rightfully argued that if you have paid off a device on-contract, it should belong to you, full-stop.
The Obama Administration said flat-out they agreed… which is why it’s distressing to find out that they may have been misleading us. In fact, while telling the American public that it supported laws to make cell phone unlocking legal, it appears that the Obama Administration has secretly been working against it.
To ease the minds of millions of Americans worried about their health insurance, Obama held a press conference today and admitted that his administration fumbled the launch of Healthcare.gov. Continuing his speech with optimism, Obama then turned to his favorite tech company – Apple – as an example, saying everybody needs to chillax and that buying health insurance won’t ever be as easy as purchasing a song from iTunes.
The Obama Administration has been under heavy fire the last few months thanks to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov and has pulled a couple Apple metaphors out of his hat to cope with the mess.
Obama’s not the only one in Washington looking to Apple for inspiration with the Healtcare.gov mess though. The GOP released a series of attack ads that spoof Apple’s famous “Mac vs. PC” campaign. Take a look:
President Obama announced today that he has tapped Catherine Novelli, VP of Worldwide Government Affaris for Apple to fill a position in the State Department. Novelli has been Apple’s top lobbyist since 2007 but is set to serve as Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.
Although the nomination still has to be approved, it sounds like the president is confident Novelli and the other nominees will be joining his administration his soon:
“It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this Administration to serve the American people. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
Hate the fact that your wireless carrier keeps your smartphone locked? President Obama does too. The White House has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that wireless carriers be required to unlock all mobile devices.
An avowed fan of Apple’s products, it was the first time a U.S. presidential administration had vetoed a product ban by the ITC since 1987, and seemed to signal that the Obama Administration was not going to penalize an American company like Apple in favor of a foreign company like Samsung.
Financial Markets took notice. Samsung’s market cap is down a billion dollars since the vetoing.
The term “patent troll” tends to be thrown around a lot when talking about Apple, Samsung, et al.’s endless patent litigation, but there’s a big difference between companies trying to protect their patent profiles in court and the sort of trolls who exist for no other reason than to sue other companies for violations on overly broad patents that they aren’t using, stifling innovation (for example, notorious in-app patent troll Lodsys).
Reforms to the patent system to neuter patent trolls is something that have been called for for years, but it seems like President Obama is finally doing something. The White House has just announced that they are taking on the patent troll problem with seven new legislative proposal. But even if Congress won’t budge? Obama says he’s going to take five executive actions to thwart patent trolls, which he can do even without congressional approval.
Even though Steve Jobs had a solid working relationship with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, it’s no secret that Steve Jobs hated Fox News. In fact, in Walter Isaacon’s authorized biography, Steve Jobs said that “Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society.”
Rather than associate Apple’s brand with Fox News, Steve Jobs decided to personally order all of Apple’s ads to be removed from the conservative TV network.
A group of U.S. Senators have introduced a new bill that will allow cellphone owners to legally unlock their devices again after their contract has expired.
Called the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, and backed by Al Franken and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would reverse a Library of Congress ruling from October 2012 that deemed cellphone unlocking illegal unless the process was performed by a carrier.
There’s been a lot of noise lately surrounding smartphone unlocking. On October 28, 2012, the Library of Congress said it was going to be illegal to unlock your smartphone starting on January 26, 2013.
Since then, Obama has stepped in and said that’s totally not fair. And then a few legislators have brought up bills to make sure people can unlock their smartphones without facing criminal charges. Now AT&T says it wants to be perfectly clear that they don’t really want you to go to jail for unlocking your smartphone.