Tech CEOs meet with Trump on government overhaul


UPDATE 3-Tech CEOs meet with Trump on government overhaul

(Updates with meeting, Trump comments)
    By David ShepardsonWASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump met
on Monday with the heads of 18 U.S. technology companies
including Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, Inc <AMZN.O> and
Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O>, seeking their help to make the
government's computing systems more efficient.
    The White House wants to update government information
technology systems, cut costs, eliminate waste and improve
service. Trump on Monday cited estimates that the government
could save up to $1 trillion over 10 years through such
    "Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the
federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically
better services for citizens," Trump said. "Government needs to
catch up with the technology revolution."
    The executives are part of the so-called American Technology
Council that Trump formed in May to support efforts to modernize
the U.S. government.
    "The U.S. should have the most modern government in the
world. Today it doesn't," Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook
    Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said he wanted the
Trump administration to make use of commercially available
technologies, worker retraining, machine learning and artificial
    Before meeting with Trump, the CEOs met in 10 small group
sessions with Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary
Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with the
presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio
State University.
     Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, said the
administration wanted to "unleash the creativity of the private
sector to provide citizen services in a way that has never
happened before."
    He said the administration was scrapping unneeded
regulations for government computing systems, such as a rule on
preventing Y2K issues. Most of the government's 6,100 data
centers can be consolidated and moved to a cloud-based storage
    The White House is seeking to shrink government, reduce the
federal workforce and eliminate regulations.
    Trump in March signed an order to overhaul the federal
government and tapped Kushner to lead a White House Office of
American Innovation to leverage business ideas and potentially
privatize some government functions. [nL1N1I30MH]
    Many of the tech executives are eager to get White House
help in dealing with regulatory and other policy issues such as
visas for highly skilled workers.
    Others attending include Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> Executive
Chairman Eric Schmidt, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins
Chairman John Doerr and the CEOs of Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O>
International Business Machines Corp <IBM.N>, Intel Corp
<INTC.O>, Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O>, Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> and Adobe
Systems Inc <ADBE.O>. Facebook <FB.O> CEO Mark Zuckerberg was
invited but could not attend because of a conflict, the company
    A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report
estimated the U.S. government spent more than $80 billion in IT
annually, excluding classified operations. In 2015, the U.S.
government made at least 7,000 separate IT investments and some
agencies were using systems that had components at least 50
years old. "This structure is unsustainable," Kushner said.

    The CEOs and White House also planned to discuss Trump's
review announced in April of the U.S. visa program for bringing
high-skilled foreign workers into the country. Cook plans to
raise immigration, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.
    The council also seeks to boost the security of U.S.
government IT systems and wants to learn from private-sector
practices. In 2015, hackers exposed the personal information of
22 million people from U.S. government databases.
    The White House thinks it can learn from credit card
companies about significantly reducing fraud. A 2016 government
audit found that in Medicaid alone there was $29 billion in
fraud in a single year.
    Following Trump's June 1 decision to withdraw from the Paris
climate accords, Tesla <TSLA.O> CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney
<DIS.N> CEO Robert Iger stepped down from White House advisory
panels. White House officials said the dispute had little impact
and that they had to turn away tech leaders from Monday's event
because of lack of space.

 (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang and
Cynthia Osterman)
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This article appears in: Stocks , Technology
Referenced Symbols: AAPL , ADBE , AMZN , DIS , FB

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