November 29, 2018 / 5:50 PM / 10 days ago

White House to hold roundtable with tech executives on innovation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration, which has had sometimes strained relations with high-technology companies, will meet with top tech executives next week to discuss innovation and future jobs, several companies attending and a White House official said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the opening of the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. Michel Euler/Pool via Reuters

Chief executives expected to participate include Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella, Alphabet Inc’s Sundar Pichai, Qualcomm Inc’s Steven Mollenkopf and Oracle Corp’s Safra Catz, a White House official confirmed. Others have been invited but not yet confirmed they will attend the roundtable discussions.

Microsoft and Oracle separately confirmed they would take part. The sessions will focus on jobs of the future in the technology space, the White House official said.

President Donald Trump has had many run-ins with technology companies since he took office, including his accusations without evidence of bias by Alphabet’s Google, Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc and “trying to silence” people.

“I think that Google and Facebook and Twitter ... treat conservatives and Republicans very unfairly,” Trump told reporters at the White House in August.

Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing with Pichai to discuss Republican allegations of bias against conservatives - a charge Google has denied.

The roundtable, to be held next Thursday, will also feature Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman and Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian.

The White House declined immediate comment. Blackstone declined to comment and Carnegie Mellon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

White House adviser Larry Kudlow said in early October that the administration was working on a meeting with tech companies.

“We’re going to have a little conference - the president will preside over it - we will have big internet companies, big social media companies, search companies,” Kudlow said at the time. Also attending, he added, would be “some who are dissatisfied with those companies.”

Trump met in June 2017 with the heads of 18 U.S. technology companies including Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft, seeking their help to make the government’s computing systems more efficient.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Tom Brown

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